in:verse

In:verse has a simple premise: a poem that generates an image or animation.

It is a multicoding esolang, meaning its programs have double-readings: in this case, code as poetry. This is in the tradition of Piet (code as image) and Shakespeare (code as play). Unlike those languages, however, in:verse is not for general computing. By avoiding flow-control and recursion entirely, its creator Sukanya Aneja focused the language completely on creating compelling poetry and visuals in a way that both experienced and beginning programmers can engage with.

The simplicity of its command set is important because of in:verse's other unusual feature: its lexicon is unique to each program. In:verse has a static list of commands, but how those commands are called—their actual keywords—varies from program to program through an additional level of indirection. One poem might use the word "love" for tangent, while another poem will use the word "orange" in its place.

This approach is reminiscent of Esopo by Will Hicks; but where Hicks accomplished the variability of expression through many different languages, each finely-tuned for one mode of expression, in:verse leaves the naming to the designer of the individual piece, who essentially creates their own dialect of the larger language.

Read More


This entry originally appeared at esoteric.codes/blog/inverse, and may be a summary or abridged version.