Programming by dictation?

Posted by Andrew M on Programmers See other posts from Programmers or by Andrew M
Published on 2011-02-15T01:16:06Z Indexed on 2011/02/15 7:33 UTC
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ie. you speak out the code, and someone else across the room types it in

Anyone tried this?

Obviously the person taking the dictation would need to be a coder too, so you didn't have to explain everything and go into tedious detail (not 'open bracket, new line...' but more like 'create a new class called myParser that takes three arguments, first one is...').

I thought of it because sometimes I'm too easily distracted at my computer. Surrounded by buttons, instant gratification a click away, the world at my fingertips. To get stuff done, I want to get away, write my code on paper. But that would mean losing access to necessary resources, and necessitate tedious typing-up later on. The solution? Dictate.


  • no chance to check reddit, stackexchange, gmail, etc.
  • code while you pace the room, lie down, play billiards, whatever
  • train your brain to think more abstractedly (have to visualize things if you can't just see the screen)
  • skip the tedious details (closing brackets etc.)
  • the typist gets to shadow a more experienced programmer and learn how they work
  • the typist can provide assistance/suggestions
  • external pressure of typist expecting instructions, urging you to stay focussed


  • might be too hard
  • might not work any better
  • rather inefficient use of assisting programmer
  • need to find/pay someone to do this

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