Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

I'm a blind programmer. I use a 80-character braille display which shows one line of text at a time. My preferred language is Python although some blind programmers dislike it for its syntactic use of indentation. I find that scrolling with the braille display and feeling for the indentations on left gives me a good feel for the shape of a program. I know another programmer who prefers Perl because of its rich use of sigils, although he uses speech synthesis. I prefer to use vim for all types of editing (I hate IDEs although many blind programmers like Eclipse or Visual Studio). Why do you reckon the feedback blind programmers use as non-tangible BTW?



I was just thinking, before reading your response, that python would suck for the blind, because of its strong preference of "beautification" of the code. So your response actually surprises me.

Do you think having braces over indentation would have helped for accessibility. Any other issues with the language syntax?


Maybe one's preference depends on whether one uses speech or braille. Although I known of some blind programmers who won't learn Python because of the indentation, some like it. Some speech users use a piano scale to show indentation. Some use editor settings that transform the source code on load so that blocks are delimited and reformat on save. The EdSharp, developed by a blind programmer, is one such editor.


I was thinking that too, but I wagered there would be a way to give representations to white-space which act as a way of dealing with it.

Although, it would seem to me that it would involve a lot of counting of white-space.


What do you think about languages like J or APL or even Haskell, where you can do an awful lot in very few characters?


I don't know APL and I'm not currently smart enough for Haskell. My current infatuation for learning is with Scala. When I first started programming in the mid-80's, I was hacking on a COBOL stock-control system on VMS; the braille display I was using at the time didn't do terminal emulation, and this software built screens by outputting VT52 escape sequences. Although I learnt to decode them so that I could check my screens for alignment and spacing etc. I discovered that I could log an interactive session using SET HOST/LOG; I wrote a TECO program to translate these sessions back into a 2-dimensional layout that was much easier to read on my braille display. So, yes I generally like dense languages.


> "I learnt to decode them so that I could check my screens for alignment and spacing etc."

That's just amazing, but I guess it makes a lot of sense... since your display is not 2d-based in the same way as standard screens are and you can read the code itself (i.e. the display is consistent). I'd upvote you a thousand times just for how cool it is to workaround difficulties in so leet way :)

Of course it also reminds me of... I don't see code, just blondes, brunettes, redheads...


I used to work in a braille lab during my masters. Braille lab would generate braille books and reading material depending on blind students' request.

For regular text, we used to do a simple text conversion and print it using a special printer called braille embosser. We used a software called duxbury for the purpose. http://www.duxburysystems.com/dbt.asp

For math(non single line), braille uses something called, nemeth code. So we used code almost all the math functions/equations manually in nemeth code.

For graphics, we used to emboss 2d picture on a special paper. The process involved, scan the picture -> convert it into a grayscale -> remove all the noise -> take a print out -> use a tactile embosser to put it on a swell touch paper (http://www.abledata.com/abledata.cfm?pageid=19327&top=15...) Typically, a chart or graph or waveforms were key in understanding the material.

During the process I interacted with few blind cs engineers who were graduated and were working for Microsoft. At that time(10yrs ago), Microsoft was the best blind friendly company. They used the visual studio for daily hacking.


Have you ever tried PostScript, Forth or Factor?




Applications are open for YC Winter 2023

Guidelines | FAQ | Lists | API | Security | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: