Wednesday, January 09, 2008

How the Sausage Gets Made

I saw one of Jeff Atwood's Coding Horror posts where he states that nobody cares if the code you write is ugly code or not, as long as it works. While I have some basic agreement, I have a big qualifier - if they are a customer and do not expect to get bug fixes from you, they don't care.

However, if they expect you to fix the bugs they find, or are your manager, they do, or at least should care. Ugly code is harder to maintain, harder to improve, and sometimes harder to find developers to work on.

Jeff has a point, that trying to make code pretty without a business purpose is programmer vanity, but there is a cost to using working, but bad code. This article about technical debt is a good discussion of the tradeoffs.

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