A kind of poetry

Sometimes I will write some software that is the realization of a very simple idea. I will spend perhaps a few days on it, polish it up, and be very happy with it.

What I have is something that tries to do only one thing. But it does that one thing very well. There is a kind of poetry to it.

But then I will be tempted to get ambitious. “As long as I’m doing this thing well,” I say to myself, “why not add that other capability?”

Soon I am adding capabilities right and left, and my once simple little software gem starts to turn into Dr. Frankenstein’s creature. It does all sorts of things, but it no longer has a clear purpose. The poetry of it is gone.

I’ve been getting better at resisting the temptation to keep building things to the point where I kill the poetry. I think it’s a skill you develop over time.

One Response to “A kind of poetry”

  1. Stefan Fritzsche says:

    a fundamental question (in software development) – why not put WORD, EXCEL, POWERPOINT, etc. all in ONE BIG application that DOES IT ALL .. as it is with the sciences – we once had ONE “Science” .. then it split up in Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Geology, … and now we find ourselves on the way back to a unified theory of possibly everything – one SCIENCE to rule – I mean EXPLAIN – it all.

    the interesting thing is that it is now *harder* to put it all back together than it once was to split it apart…

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