Liberal vs Conservative Software Engineering… another epic rant from ☛ Steve Yegge

Steve has posted another epic rant on Google+ about the Software Engineerings own political axis. My favorite part it the characterization of the Conservative View as Fred from Scooby-Doo and the Liberal View as Shaggy. The views are highlighted below

Conservative View

  1. Software should aim to be bug free before it launches.
  2. Programmers should be protected from errors.
  3. Programmers have difficulty learning new syntax.
  4. Production code must be safety-checked by a compiler.
  5. Data stores must adhere to a well-defined, published schema.
  6. Public interfaces should be rigorously modeled.
  7. Production systems should never have dangerous or risky back-doors.
  8. If there is ANY doubt as to the safety of a component, it cannot be allowed in production
  9. Fast is better than slow.

    Liberal View:

    1.  Bugs are not a big deal. 
    2. Programmers are only newbies for a little while.
    3. Programmers figure stuff out amazingly fast when their jobs depend on it.
    4. Succinctness is power.
    5. Rigid schemas limit flexibility and slow down development.
    6. Public interfaces should above all else be simple, backward-compatible, and future-compatible.
    7. System flexibility can mean the difference between you getting the customer (or contract) vs. your competitor nabbing it instead.
    8. Companies should take risks, embrace progress, and fiercely resist ossification
    9. Premature optimization is the root of all evil.

      Excerpted from "Notes from the Mystery Machine Bus" by Steve Yegge

      Rob Pike - " small shortcut about 40 years ago..."

      I'm pretty sure the concept of a hidden file was an unintended consequence. It was certainly a mistake.

      How many bugs and wasted CPU cycles and instances of human frustration (not to mention bad design) have resulted from that one small shortcut about 40 years ago?

      Keep that in mind next time you want to cut a corner in your code.


      As well considered Unix always seemed to be, the notion that hidden files were an unintended consequence of a "quick hack" is amusing...

      Apple Podcast App not ready for prime time...

      I'm happy that Apple is finally considering podcasts first class
      content by separating them into their own app. What I'm not happy
      about is the shockingly poor shape in which it was released... I
      have a number of podcasts that I listen to weekly, between 15-20. I
      would not think that this is an unusually high number but whenever I
      start the new podcast app it hangs and is unresponsive for what seems
      like minutes. It's not unusual for it to crash after hanging, which
      seems to be happening more frequently recently.

      Additionally, the new app is missing some simple brain dead features
      which should be in any podcast app's first release. First of which is
      the ability to sort the list of all unplayed podcasts... I like to
      listen to the podcasts in the order they were released. The unplayed
      list is sorted newest first with no way to change this. Apple does
      let you change the sort per podcast if you select a specific podcast,
      but I almost never have more than one episode outstanding for a
      podcast. I like to just fire up the unplayed list and listen FIFO.

      Another simple feature is a single synchronized set of podcast
      subscriptions across my devices. For the company that launched
      iCloud it is inconceivable to me that I have to create a subscription
      lists on each device.

      There are also bugs throughout... Duplicate podcasts mysteriously
      show up on my list. There is a blank empty podcast on my subscription
      list and there seems to be no way to delete it. Who tested this
      thing? Are we the beta testers

      I would much rather have had the above features in the app, fully
      tested, than the faux reel to reel tape animation... How many hours
      did the developer spend on getting the tape to feed through with real
      physics... Watch the capstan when you start and stop the podcast.
      Watch the realistic bounce. As the podcast processes the tape
      gathers progressively on the take up reel. When the podcast artwork
      is up, the background is translucent like smoked glass. It allows you
      to see the tape animation behind it. The developer really wants us
      to see his handy work. This is a big fail. The animation is chrome
      that should only be added when the app is feature complete. Give me
      the features that make the app useful before you give me the eye

      This app feels like it was released early by mistake. It was released
      with no announcement like it snuck out the back door of school during
      recess. My only hope is that when iOS 6 is released in the fall, the
      real apple podcast app will be released with it, feature complete and
      fully tested.

      [Frustratingly sent from my iPhone 4S]

      “It’s not flat-lining, by any stretch of the imagination, but it has slowed down..."

      Demand is “simmering compared to where it was at the beginning of the year, when it looked like the recovery, at least from our perspective, would have been pretty robust,” said Jeff Pederson, the new chief executive officer of Berkshire’s CORT Business Services Corp., the world’s largest provider of rental furniture. “It’s not flat-lining, by any stretch of the imagination, but it has slowed down."

      "There are two things in this world that take no skill: 1. Spending other people’s money and 2. Dismissing an idea."

      There are two things in this world that take no skill: 1. Spending other people’s money and 2. Dismissing an idea.

      Dismissing an idea is so easy because it doesn’t involve any work. You can scoff at it. You can ignore it. You can puff some smoke at it. That’s easy. The hard thing to do is protect it, think about it, let it marinate, explore it, riff on it, and try it. The right idea could start out life as the wrong idea.

      A must read...