This Plan is a study of programming language design and implementation as well as an interactive, modular memoir. It is a reflection of both introspection and exploration. The contents deal with language, both as a reader (of anything) and a writer (of code). The Plan includes the design and implementation of an embedded systems language called MinNo, an Arduino language compiler. MinNo is meant to allow another avenue into Arduino programming. It is not some silver bullet in teaching someone how to program. It is not the end all be all of Arduino development. I won’t even claim it is in any way an objective improvement over the languages already available to Arduino programmers. MinNo is the language that I wanted when I learned Arduino programming. It makes the assumptions that I wanted when I started. It is not the most universally readable. It is not the most logically simplistic. It is the language that makes the most sense to me. If the language serves me, then it should serve people like me. If that allows others to get into programming in an easier way than I did, then the project will have been worth it.
Written words confuse me. I cannot make sense of Gravity’s Rainbow. Latin gives me a headache. I have never had the courage to read Moby Dick. I am dyslexic. I have been told to not identify with my disability, but if it affects how I intake the majority of information in my life, how could I not feel like it has become some kind of constant veneer. In learning to program, my dyslexia constructed some massive hurdles that, frankly, almost made me quit computers three years ago. I have wanted to write about my experience since then, but I never had the forum to really dig into it. My experience with programming eased, as have my troubles with dyslexia. To say that it isn’t a problem anymore would be akin to saying that I felt I have totally represented my experience in what you are about to read: a lie. I still have trouble with reading other people’s code and I still struggle with typos. But I feel like this attempt to convey my experience as someone who struggles with reading and writing is adequate as a starting point.
I have had a passing interest in Jorge Borges’s Library of Babel. The construction of a simple system and a complex result has always been interesting to me. I feel that Borges’s short story is a pinnacle example of this kind of process. There was a website I found about two years ago that is dedicated to this book. What interested me most was an effect it uses on the landing page menu; the text increments in a constant stream upward through the ASCII values. I had done some papers as straight HTML before, so making a paper to incorporate this as a way to “show” my experience felt fairly straight forward.
The most memorable thing about my Plan process has been the honest process of research and creation. I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to work so closely with such smart, engaged faculty. I am now a software engineer.