23 September 2009

"The Duct Tape Programmer"

Joel on Software | The Duct Tape Programmer:

Duct tape programmers are pragmatic. [Jamie] Zawinski popularized Richard Gabriel’s precept of Worse is Better. A 50%-good solution that people actually have solves more problems and survives longer than a 99% solution that nobody has because it’s in your lab where you’re endlessly polishing the damn thing. Shipping is a feature. A really important feature. Your product must have it.
[Emph. mine.]

Joel Spolsky is talking about a good lesson from Peter Seibel's book, Coders at Work, which is interviews with CS All Stars like Knuth and Norvig and Steele. He's saying that you shouldn't be afraid to say no to the architect astronauts who want you to use multiply-inherited templated whatevers since the fancy techniques often use up more effort than they save.

I went through a two year period where I didn't work on many large or even medium-scale programming projects over my senior year of undergrad and first year of grad school because a lot of my classes were more pencil-and-paper stuff. My coding got really rusty over this period, but the silver lining is that I forgot most of the overly fancy and trendy stuff I knew, and I'm left with the ugly-but-gets-the-job-done core of my former knowledge.


  1. Dude, I can't read your post. Your colors are making me blind. I suppose that is because you duck taped it?

  2. lame, why do you approve comments. That's weak man.