Instruction set is a recently launched site that gives some instructions every month and asks for implementations in code. Think Sol Lewitt goes 2.0 (sorry I couldn’t resist). It is a beautiful simple idea and It’s stealing me lots of braincycles (see).
I’ve heard raindrops here and there about design by limitation lately. Number of chars in twitter, flickr video length, 1 photo/day in fotolog… There are a couple of limitations in instructionset which I missed at first but on a second thought I found interesting:
- There’s no clear way to post a result (images, applets, audio…).
- There is no form of comments/discussion other than the description of you implementation.
You can always give a url, but it is not even suggested. I thought it might be an obvious improvement, but after trying to come up with solutions for the 2 first instructions, I’ve discovered that results could be a distraction. Instructions are about language and interpretation. I’ve found myself repeating the sentence, trying to define exactly every word, looking for a fold, or a flaw in which to introduce a deviation… Thinking how they relate to the programming language, how I relate to the programming language (specially with the first one “draw a straight line and follow it”)… I think that this relationship between everyday and programming language is a powerful one to explore.
After seeing some of the contributions, I’ve found interesting approaches and I’d like to give feedback, but given the overwhelming noise ratio in today’s software playgrounds, I appreciate that there’s no way to do it. Paraphrasing Cage: just respond with your implementation.
Now, I don’t know if these are intended features or result of an early release, but if one could vote against new features… :)