How Pointy Brackets Became a Computing Icon

Illustration for article titled How Pointy Brackets Became a Computing Icon

The <pointy brackets> are an archetypal pair of characters in the world of computing. But if you’ve ever wondered how they became so pervasive, you’re in luck.

In this video, Professor David Brailsford explains that the pointy bracket first arrived on the scene to make Noam Chomsky’s hierarchy—now a fundamental tenet of computer science—a little easier to read and understand. And like all good simplifying ideas, it took a hold. Watch to find out why.


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It wasn’t until this article that I, an IT professional, realized that these were called “pointy brackets”.

Thinking about it, I guess I never had to describe them out loud to another person. I probably would have called them ‘html brackets’ or just ‘code brackets.’