The immediate definition of "handcrafted" that I found was: "Make skillfully by hand.".

In the same way a woodsman would craft a wooden toy with tools, a programmer using tools such as a computer and keyboard, arranges bits or states to create code.

In this sense, is code or the resulting program "handcrafted"?

  • I could definitely see the term handcrafted being used to refer to a hand-coded assembly routine that optimizes and replaces code generated by a compiler.
    – Jim
    Apr 17, 2013 at 14:53
  • It's a metaphor.
    – Mitch
    Apr 17, 2013 at 15:10
  • I agree with the previous comments. "Handcrafted" is usually used to contrast coding done by a human programmer to code that is generated automatically -- normally, as @Jim noted, when referring to hand-coded assembly.
    – Gnawme
    Apr 17, 2013 at 15:56

2 Answers 2


It could be. Most code is written by hand (to a degree), but I've heard this phrase used in reference to program code that is of above-average quality (as in: "make skillfully by hand" ) in multiple ways: the formatting is neat and consistent; the variables, functions, classes, and other constructs are all well-named and well designed; there's no dead code; errors and handled cleanly; inline documentation is clear and concise (i.e. only on particularly complex/unintuitive bits of logic - not on every getter/setter).

  • 2
    Agree with the use for above-average quality. "Handcrafted" could also imply a piece of code that has been specifically written or adapted for some specialised purpose.
    – tinyd
    Apr 17, 2013 at 14:55
  • I agree, but also I think there's a rather tongue-in-cheek implication to the expression in this context as well. I doubt that someone would intend to be taken too seriously when describing code in this way. Apr 18, 2013 at 19:39

There are a number of words you could use such as: coded, programmed, written, hacked, developed, implemented and (loosely) designed.

However, if you want to infer that it was done with expertise judging from your question, then the best words to use are probably 'developed' or 'implemented'.

Source: I've been a programmer by profession for 12 years and am a CITP.

  • 1
    Misuse of infer for imply: –1.
    – tchrist
    Apr 17, 2013 at 14:44
  • 2
    In the absence of any evidence, I disagree, but how about answering the OP's question rather than inferring pedanticity?
    – Neo
    Apr 17, 2013 at 14:56

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