An Ode to Text Files
Fri Feb 14, 2020

You can download this poem as a text file here.

Amongst all formats, in all of time,
one stands alone from all the rest.
A file so pure that I wrote this rhyme,
to explain, for sure, why it's the best.
A standard old, yet still brand new,
Through the ages, never loosing utility.
A format that can do for you,
more than any other's ability.
Your lack of appreciation leaves me vexed,
For the purest, greatest document - the form of plain text.

Across all time, across all nations,
it lends itself well to conversations.
As long as the unicode standard is present,
International messages are simple and plesant.
Never do you hear the scream:
"This thing won't open on my machine!"
The ending of lines, for sure, makes debate,
But I don't think that's enough to cause hate,
As the alternatives don't open at all.

More beauty comes in the files's creation,
With editors built to suit every need.
For some, the keys of vim are a cause for elation,
yet others love notepad, or emacs, for speed.
Wars may rage between user groups,
but what truly matters is you can decide.
So call off the armies, call back the troops,
as in our goals we are unified.
Never owned by a single company,
Instead of one tool, infinitely many,
the format of text is open to all.

But, you say, I need more than words!
formatting, data, we need files for!
Dear friend, your cries have already been heard,
within text comes markup, structure, and more.
From the programs that make everything run,
To the management of every setting under the sun.
Writing, Accounting, Development, Storage,
and many others, so easily done.
Do I even mention the ease to process,
and automate tasks, for quicker success.

Yet this is all before a great strength,
The controlling of versions helps stop the length,
of infinite older copies of files.
When a change is made, just add a commit,
in subversion, mercurial, bazzar, or git,
Then forever will that change be undoable.
Collaboration goes from frustrating to fun,
With merging versions so easily done.

So won't you join me in my praise,
of the one true format of the computing world,
tried and tested over millions of days.
Throw away your proprietary tools, be rid of Word,
to not use text is almost absurd.
The universal file, the standard for all,
Nothing will ever bring text's downfall.


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