Defining the term 'inner-beauty of source code' is a difficult task. You may know it when you see it, but to define a clear criterion is far more complex than it seems. So far, my favorite criterion was that simplicity in design and implementation would be the key factor for inner-beauty. Today I learned a new perspective of this topic and I'd like to share it with you.
Let's try to collect some criteria:
The Dove of Peace by Picasso or The Owl by Picasso). Picasso used just a few lines in order to capture the character of an animal in a perfect way.
For me this is still pure beauty. I used this analogy to explain the inner-beauty of software. These minimalistic drawings compared to the sometimes extremely complex Cubism by Picasso are easy to see. But, this comparison was fundamentally wrong.
Today I wanted to write something about inner-beauty of source code and googled some pictures to illustrate the article. When I saw Picasso's Guernica the painting, I started to realize this mistake.
We should not judge about beauty of source code just with generic quality attributes and/or results of static code analysis. Quality criteria are necessary, but are not sufficient. The perception of beauty is something very individual and everybody may have his/her personal criteria. Its worth to strive for mastery, even if we will never archive this high goal.