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At the urging of my father, I recently signed up for disability insurance. It got me wondering, if I were to become blind, what would it be like to write code without eyesight?

An old question on Stack Overflow deals with the tools that are available, but I'm more interested in the experience, especially of someone who lost their vision after learning to program.

I know that my own style is very visual: when writing code for the first time, I often write a big block of code, look it over to see what makes sense to split out, and then refactor it into separate functions by cut/paste. It seems like it would be hard to do that without seeing the code.

After learning to work with tools like a screen reader, is the experience basically the same? Or does it affect how you write code in a more substantial way?

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closed as primarily opinion-based by MichaelT, gnat, Bart van Ingen Schenau, GlenH7, Robert Harvey Dec 4 '13 at 0:00

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

I don't have an answer for this, since I normally dictate code to my secretary anyway. – CamelBlues Jul 5 '11 at 18:39
The second top rated answer of the question you provided was written by a blind. You may try to contact him of invite him here.… – user2567 Jul 5 '11 at 18:48
@CamelBlues: In the very early days, before cheap portable storage, it was common for programs to be printed in books and magazines, requiring you to type the code in yourself. Long before pair programming, one of us would read the code to the other to speed typing, saying "bang" for !, "pound" for #, "string" for $, and so on - conventions we had overheard or invented as needed. – Steven A. Lowe Jul 5 '11 at 19:20
Did someone seriously vote this as "too localized"? Do people think the blind don't use the Internet or write programs? – benzado Jul 5 '11 at 20:01
@Rachel: Blind people use the internet too. – Chris Jul 6 '11 at 16:44

1 Answer 1

up vote 6 down vote accepted

To grasp the concept of programming is not hard when blind. However, debugging code and learning syntax is very difficult.

It would probably be more beneficial for a blind person to write the pseudo code and have a programmer interpret and input it. This way, you can still get the logic rush of writing the code. Stress your brain of how to complete different tasks and functions, but leave the missing semicolon to the programmer tasked with inputting the code.

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So you are saying the only reason for a blind person to program is to get the "logic rush", e.g. you are saying that disabled people should not be able to earn money! – Ian Jul 7 '11 at 11:02
@ian I'm not sure I understand your comments. Programming <> Money. Many people, including myself, are part of open source software development. – kobaltz Jul 7 '11 at 14:07
@ian My point was saying that to debug your own code as a blind person is hard enough. Try being hired by a company to come in and debug their code. If you're never tried this before, then I'd suggest than you do not need to make such comments. Personally, I have been struck with this challenge in the past and mind you it is no easy feat. When a project came about, I wrote all of the pseudo code and had friends put it into the desired language. They didn't have to do much thinking since I had written out all of the logic required for the program to function. – kobaltz Jul 7 '11 at 14:11
@Ian: I'd be saying a job of programmer as a source of income would be a very wrong choice for a blind person. There are many jobs where blindness isn't a problem (and sometimes it's an advantage). Programming is not one of them. Programming as a passion is still possible, but making a living off it - not really. – SF. Jul 12 '11 at 10:09
@SF - – spinning_plate Jul 28 '11 at 17:06

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