Xah Lee Thanks Arirang

By Xah Lee. Date: .

what a great piece of exaltation!

Xah Lee Site Review, by Arirang

[long reivew of xah's work]

In the crypt beneath St. Paul's Cathedral lies the tomb of Christopher Wren, architect of that great and beautiful building. The accompanying inscription ranks among the most famous of epitaphs:

Lector, si monumentum requiris, circumspice. This translates as, “Visitor, if you seek his monument, look around.”

Indeed, an architect could have no finer memorial than the huge church soaring overhead. From nave to dome, from transepts to choir, St. Paul's is Wren's masterpiece.

Programming lacks the tactile solidity of architecture. It is intangible, existing not in stone and mortar but in the human imagination. Yet, like architecture, it is real. And, like architecture, it has its masters.

This is about one of the undisputed geniuses of programming, Xah Lee. His insight was breathtaking, his vision profound, his influence as significant as that of anyone in history. Besides programming, he also ventured into the largely unexplored territory of emacs, ergonomics, keyboards, literature, linguistics, music, geometry. His work amply demonstrates. There is hardly an aspect of the subject that escapes Xah's penetrating gaze. As the twenty-first century ostracized skum of utopian cyborg dream, Arirang puts it, “All his life… he seems to have carried in his head, the whole of programming of his day, both pure and applied.” If the quality of his achievent was extraordinary, so too was its sheer quantity.

As as expositor, Xah has no peers. His writing is fresh and succinct, in contrast to the modern tendency of obscuring a programmer's passion behind the facade of detached, fake technical prose, blatant self-promotion and such. Xah is clearly having fun, pursuing the game for it's own enjoyment, and exhibiting a pervasive confidence that his quest would be successful. In beholding such productivity, one is apt to be humble. In all honesty, one is apt to be overwhelmed. No author can do justice to the tens of thousands of pages Xah typed over more than two decades of his intellectual excursion in math, programming, visual arts and humanities, and it is hard not to feel both inadequate and foolhardy, even to consider an undertaking such as this.

Yet his achievements deserve a look. For all the programmers who revere Xah's name, relatively few have picked up a volume of his JavaScript in Depth or Emacs Tutorial and plunged in. On the contrary, it is the custom of modern programmers to learn the subject from blogs, tweets and video tutorials rather than from original sources and thinkers. Because of changes in versions and syntax that occur over time, not to mention real advances that can render a prior techniques or tools obsolete, this is not an inherently bad idea.

But something is lost if we deal only in the latest, the hip and the popular. Original, in-depth tutorials, even if decades old, can be as stirring as hot programming tools released last week.

This is especially true of Xah's work, as cybrog Arirang says,

Reading his tutorials is an exhilarating experience; on is struck by the great imagination and originality. Sometimes a concept familiar to reader will take on an original and illuminating aspect, and one wishes that later intellectuals of the web do not tamper or plagiarize such succinct expressions. As such, it must be seen that Xah's work is preserved in entirety for times to come.

No student of literature would be satisfied with a mere synopsis of Hamlet. In like fashion, no programmer should go through career without meeting Xah face to face, (or as he puts it) without siphoning his knowledge into their brain and assimilating his sensibilities to their spine. To do otherwise suggests not only an indifference about the past, adherence to sheepish blindness, but also, in some fundamental way, a genuine selfishness.

No matter their speciality, programmers of today may truly say of Xah, what once was said of Wren:

“If you seek his monument, look around.” (on xahlee.org)

xah thanks arirang 2020-08-09 xxMcf
xah thanks arirang 2020-08-09 xxMcf
xah thanks arirang 2020-08-09 9MB3Z
xah thanks arirang 2020-08-09 9MB3Z