What if Jane Austen had been an engineer?

2:00pm - 2:25pm on Saturday, October 6 in PennTop South

Lacey Williams Henschel

Audience Level:


Jane Austen said, “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single module in possession of a good function, must be in want of a test.” In this talk, we’ll discover how writing tips from your high school English class can make your code cleaner and clearer.


As a developer with two English degrees, over the years I’ve identified some concrete ways this education makes me a better developer. This talk will discuss how we can take lessons from literature to write more readable code, make better tests, and create more usable websites. At the end of the day, after all, our job is to write. Surely the techniques of great writers have something to teach us.

In this humanities-based talk, you’ll learn about Freytag’s pyramid and what it has to do with writing clean code, why writing those dastardly outlines before your term papers helped prepare you for your job as an engineer, and see for yourself how The Zen of Python is basically a modern retelling of Strunk and White’s classic Elements of Style. You will leave inspired to go read your favorite book to get some tips for your next project.

Want to edit this page?