The Programming Den

In a quiet backstreet of San Franscisco, in the basement of an unassuming laundry, one can find the dim, quiet retreat of those seeking the programmer’s high .

Quiet and cool, these private clubs provide a safe place where programmers can indulge themselves, surrounded only by others of their kind, for hours, days or perhaps weeks on-end, engulfed in the bliss and serenity of uninterrupted code.

Not open to the general public, membership requires passing an initiation that is elementary for the initiated programmer, but sufficient to ward off tourists, gawkers and pointy-haired bosses.  The only rules are a vow of silence, and a “programmers only” constituency.  All who violate these tenets are quietly asked to leave.

No talking, no phone calls and certainly no Google Hangouts, The Programming Den is strictly for programming only.  Amenities vary from location to location, some spartan in furnishment while others luxurious, with retail and refreshments catered specifically to the hackerish clientele.  Staff work quietly isolated from the programmers, and accommodations are provided for members who need to make noise (sometimes phone booths and private rooms, other times an alley behind the building).  The key affordance is room to concentrate and ample Internet bandwidth.

As dens form like pools around the world where concentrations of programmers grow, the only franchise agreements are that the rules above are adhered to, so that travelling programmers can expect a welcoming environment anywhere they find the SSID “the_programming_den”.

_Inspired by my personal experience of The Programmer’s High, David Auerbach’s recent Slate article entitled “ The Coder’s High “ and the opium den culture of the early 20th century - Jason _