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[extremeprogramming] Re: only code what you need today - rubbish !

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  • Robert C. Martin
    ... Not for today. The problems *may* come tomorrow. If on the other hand you try to anticipate tomorrows problems and protect yourself from them, you: 1)
    Message 1 of 20 , Feb 1, 2000
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      > -----Original Message-----
      > From: cbrooksbank@...
      > [mailto:cbrooksbank@...]
      > Sent: Tuesday, February 01, 2000 10:52 AM
      > To: extremeprogramming@egroups.com
      > Subject: [extremeprogramming] only code what you need today -
      > rubbish !
      >
      >
      > If you always write the simplist ( and the most specific )
      > solution to your
      > current immediate requirement you will generate problems.

      Not for today. The problems *may* come tomorrow. If on the other hand
      you try to anticipate tomorrows problems and protect yourself from them,
      you:

      1) make the software bigger and more complex than it needs to be right
      now.

      2) will guess wrong part of the time and force the next guy to undo, or
      work around, what you did.

      3) will spend a lot of time worrying about things that may never happen.

      BTW, XP doesn't recommend that you DO the simplest thing that could
      work. XP recommends that you consider WHAT the simplest thing that
      could possible work might be, and then extrapolate from there. Assume
      simplicity first.

      > The next guy that comes along with a slightly different
      > problem will write his
      > own specific class. It would take longer to work back looking
      > for a way
      > to generlalise the solution at a higher class level.

      It might indeed take longer. But the rules of XP force you to do it
      anyway. XP does not allow duplicate code in any form. Thus, when you
      find duplication, you must abstract it out.

      > With
      > lots of programmers
      > you get lots of classes over time, likely some bits will be
      > cut and paste
      > from other classes.

      Cut and paste is not allowed in XP because it is a form of duplication.
      The duplication must be factored out. We find that this makes us go
      faster in the long run.

      > When a bug is fixed or implementation
      > improved its only
      > fixed in some of these bits of code.

      Shouldn't happen in XP.

      > A new maintenance
      > programmer has lots of
      > bits
      > of code to work with instead of just one. Some will be subtly
      > different with
      > their own bugs. Your best coders will hate you for making
      > them produce inelegant
      > designs
      > and leave for other companys. Tell me Im wrong ( Im sure you
      > will ) . . .

      You aren't wrong. You just misunderstand XP. XP recommend that you do
      *exactly* what you recommend; with one exception. In XP we build the
      abstractions as soon as there is any duplication. Not when we suspect
      that there *might* be duplication. The rule in XP is "The second use
      pays for generality."


      Robert C. Martin | "Uncle Bob" | Training Courses:
      Object Mentor Inc. | rmartin@... | OOD, Patterns, C++,
      Java,
      PO Box 85 | Tel: (800) 338-6716 | Extreme Programming.
      Grayslake IL 60030 | Fax: (847) 548-6853 |
      http://www.objectmentor.com

      "One of the great commandments of science is:
      'Mistrust arguments from authority.'" -- Carl Sagan
    • Thomas Matelich
      zhon johansen wrote: original article:http://www.egroups.com/group/extremeprogramming/?start =1178 ... and probably should ... probably don t
      Message 2 of 20 , Feb 1, 2000
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        zhon johansen <zho-@...> wrote:
        original article:http://www.egroups.com/group/extremeprogramming/?start
        =1178
        > This message is an example of how one XP practice in isolation can
        and probably should
        > be attacked. XP is a tightly knit collection of Values and Practices.
        >
        > Your question assumes you don't do
        > *refactoring* to keep the design elegant, which means you
        probably don't have
        > *unit tests* to catch mistakes. You are probably not
        > *pair programming* to give you confidence. You are also probably
        missing an
        > *onsite customer* telling you the business requirements and that
        missing customer
        > is probably not writing
        > *functional tests* so you can know when you are finished...
        >
        > HTH,
        >
        > Zhon
        >

        One more important factor in this problem is communication. If there
        was good communication, developer B would talk to developer A and find
        out that there is something that could be refactored into what he needs.
      • Ron Jeffries
        ... As I read the text and walk the walk, it means exactly that: DO the simplest thing that could possibly work. See, for example: p 38: Treat every problem as
        Message 3 of 20 , Feb 1, 2000
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          At 12:17 PM 2/1/2000 -0600, you wrote:
          >BTW, XP doesn't recommend that you DO the simplest thing that could
          >work. XP recommends that you consider WHAT the simplest thing that
          >could possible work might be, and then extrapolate from there. Assume
          >simplicity first.

          As I read the text and walk the walk, it means exactly that: DO the
          simplest thing that could possibly work. See, for example:

          p 38: Treat every problem as if it can be solved with ridiculous simplicity.

          p 103: The design strategy in XP is to always have the simplest design that
          runs the current test suite.

          p 104: We should assume that the simplest design we can imagine possibly
          working will work. This will give us time to do a thorough job in case the
          simples design doesn't work.

          Of course, one often falls short of the goal of always doing the simplest
          thing that could possibly work. Sometimes fear is just too much. Sometimes
          we don't think of the simplest thing until later. Then the rules of code
          simplicity encourage us to reduce the system back to where it belongs.

          Regards,

          Ron Jeffries
          Extreme Programming Training and Consultation
          www.XProgramming.com
        • Joshua Kerievsky
          Robert Martin writes ... Wiki has had a page called DoTheSimplestThingThatCouldPossiblyWork for well over a year now, and the expression has certainly made its
          Message 4 of 20 , Feb 1, 2000
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            Robert Martin writes
            >>BTW, XP doesn't recommend that you DO the simplest thing that could
            >>work. XP recommends that you consider WHAT the simplest thing that
            >>could possible work might be, and then extrapolate from there. Assume
            >>simplicity first.

            Ron Jeffries responds:
            >As I read the text and walk the walk, it means exactly that: DO the
            >simplest thing that could possibly work.

            Wiki has had a page called DoTheSimplestThingThatCouldPossiblyWork for well
            over a year now, and the expression has certainly made its way into the
            culture. However, Kent recently wrote in an email thread I exchanged with him:
            ----
            Note that I never said "do the simplest thing that could possibly work".
            That would be stupid. I try to get people to think in terms of simplicity,
            hence the phrasing "what is the simplest..." It's a mantra.
            ----

            I personally like the question better than the statement. The question is
            an invitation to think - it might lead to a 10 minute round-table on just
            what is the simplest thing. The statement form (Do The...) may not invite
            enough reflection.

            -jk





            regards
            jk


            _______________________________
            Industrial Logic, Inc.
            Joshua Kerievsky, founder
            mailto:joshua@...
            http://industriallogic.com
            415-292-6266
            415-292-6267 (fax)
          • Ron Jeffries
            I could be mistaken, but I m sure Kent did tell the C3 team exactly that. Of course a lot of what we told them has been refined. Kent is usually more extreme
            Message 5 of 20 , Feb 1, 2000
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              I could be mistaken, but I'm sure Kent did tell the C3 team exactly that.
              Of course a lot of what we told them has been refined. Kent is usually more
              extreme than I am, but in my simple way I've just been doing what he told
              me and I've never gone wrong yet with the simplest thing "that could
              possibly work".

              I can't help thinking, so I don't worry about accidentally forgetting to do
              so. Perhaps I should. What were we talking about?

              Oh, yeah, simplicity. Certainly it is a mantra. But when you do it, it
              seems to work. Kent should try it ... ;->

              Ron

              At 12:08 PM 2/1/2000 -0800, you wrote:
              >Robert Martin writes
              > >>BTW, XP doesn't recommend that you DO the simplest thing that could
              > >>work. XP recommends that you consider WHAT the simplest thing that
              > >>could possible work might be, and then extrapolate from there. Assume
              > >>simplicity first.
              >
              >Ron Jeffries responds:
              > >As I read the text and walk the walk, it means exactly that: DO the
              > >simplest thing that could possibly work.
              >
              >Wiki has had a page called DoTheSimplestThingThatCouldPossiblyWork for well
              >over a year now, and the expression has certainly made its way into the
              >culture. However, Kent recently wrote in an email thread I exchanged with him:
              >----
              >Note that I never said "do the simplest thing that could possibly work".
              >That would be stupid. I try to get people to think in terms of simplicity,
              >hence the phrasing "what is the simplest..." It's a mantra.
              >----
              >
              >I personally like the question better than the statement. The question is
              >an invitation to think - it might lead to a 10 minute round-table on just
              >what is the simplest thing. The statement form (Do The...) may not invite
              >enough reflection.
              >
              >-jk
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >regards
              >jk
              >
              >
              >_______________________________
              >Industrial Logic, Inc.
              >Joshua Kerievsky, founder
              >mailto:joshua@...
              >http://industriallogic.com
              >415-292-6266
              >415-292-6267 (fax)
              >
              >
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              Ron Jeffries
              Extreme Programming Training and Consultation
              www.XProgramming.com
            • Michael C. Feathers
              ... From: Joshua Kerievsky ... well ... the ... work . ... simplicity, ... I like how Chet Hedrickson of the C3 team put it on
              Message 6 of 20 , Feb 1, 2000
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                ----- Original Message -----
                From: Joshua Kerievsky <joshua@...>
                > Wiki has had a page called DoTheSimplestThingThatCouldPossiblyWork for
                well
                > over a year now, and the expression has certainly made its way into
                the
                > culture. However, Kent recently wrote in an email thread I exchanged
                with him:
                > ----
                > Note that I never said "do the simplest thing that could possibly
                work".
                > That would be stupid. I try to get people to think in terms of
                simplicity,
                > hence the phrasing "what is the simplest..." It's a mantra.
                > ----

                I like how Chet Hedrickson of the C3 team put it on Wiki:
                "The rule is, 'Do the simplest thing that could possibly
                work', not the most stupid."

                Whenever I can draw the distinction between the simplicity
                and stupidity, I make the effort and shoot for the former.

                Michael

                ---------------------------------------------------
                Michael Feathers mfeathers@...
                Object Mentor Inc. www.objectmentor.com
                Training/Mentoring/Development
                -----------------------------------------------------
                "You think you know when you can learn, are more sure when
                you can write, even more when you can teach, but certain when
                you can program. " - Alan Perlis
              • Phlip
                From: ... your ... If you only type just enough to change the code the tiniest amount to satisfy one requirement, you l
                Message 7 of 20 , Feb 1, 2000
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                  From: <cbrooksbank@...>


                  > If you always write the simplist ( and the most specific ) solution to
                  your
                  > current immediate requirement you will generate problems.

                  If you only type just enough to change the code the tiniest amount to
                  satisfy one requirement, you'l produce bad code.

                  If you also apply OnceAndOnlyOnce and UnitTestFirst (the supporting
                  practices for DTSTTCPW and YAGNI), you can always try to leave the code
                  (and the UnitTests) in their simplest, cleanest state.

                  If you apply any of the 12 canonical XP processes extremely but in
                  isolation from the others you'l get a bad result. Kent's book XPE covers
                  this fully.

                  > The next guy that comes along with a slightly different problem will
                  write his
                  > own specific class.

                  Nope. He'd have broken OAOO. Sacrifice him to an XP principle at their
                  next love fest.

                  Phlip
                  ======= http://users.deltanet.com/~tegan/home.html =======
                • William Rutiser
                  Some well known aircraft designer once said Simplificate and add lightness . This is one of those things that is easier to say than do. Changes that restrict
                  Message 8 of 20 , Feb 1, 2000
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                    Some well known aircraft designer once said "Simplificate and add
                    lightness". This is one of those things that is easier to say than do.

                    Changes that restrict or constrain future change are less simple in
                    their effects than changes that don't.


                    Bill Rutiser
                    wru@...
                  • Chris Berry
                    Greetings, A buddy of mine just turned me on to an amazing tool for refactoring Java code. It is called Woodenchair (www.woodenchair.com). It allows you to
                    Message 9 of 20 , Feb 1, 2000
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                      Greetings,

                      A buddy of mine just turned me on to an amazing tool for refactoring Java
                      code. It is called Woodenchair (www.woodenchair.com). It allows you to
                      Repackage Mercilessly. It catches *everything*, including even the JavaDocs.
                      And works flawlessly. We just took our semi-large code base (~500 classes)
                      and did a massive restructuring of it (including moving packages, files into
                      different packages, new levels in the hierarchy, etc.) It took about 10
                      minutes. Pretty cool. (I suppose y'all already knew all about it, but just
                      in case... )

                      Cheers,
                      --Chris

                      (And no, I don't have any affiliation w/ Woodenchair ;-)
                    • Phil Goodwin
                      ... Okay, sure. But what does simple mean anyway? Ron once said to use LOC as a metric for simplicity. Is that it? Is it the fewest number of methods?
                      Message 10 of 20 , Feb 1, 2000
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                        "Michael C. Feathers" wrote:
                        >
                        > ----- Original Message -----
                        > From: Joshua Kerievsky <joshua@...>
                        > > Wiki has had a page called DoTheSimplestThingThatCouldPossiblyWork for
                        > well
                        > > over a year now, and the expression has certainly made its way into
                        > the
                        > > culture. However, Kent recently wrote in an email thread I exchanged
                        > with him:
                        > > ----
                        > > Note that I never said "do the simplest thing that could possibly
                        > work".
                        > > That would be stupid. I try to get people to think in terms of
                        > simplicity,
                        > > hence the phrasing "what is the simplest..." It's a mantra.
                        > > ----
                        >
                        > I like how Chet Hedrickson of the C3 team put it on Wiki:
                        > "The rule is, 'Do the simplest thing that could possibly
                        > work', not the most stupid."
                        >
                        > Whenever I can draw the distinction between the simplicity
                        > and stupidity, I make the effort and shoot for the former.
                        >
                        > Michael

                        Okay, sure. But what does 'simple' mean anyway? Ron once said to use LOC
                        as a metric for simplicity. Is that it? Is it the fewest number of
                        methods? Classes? Function points? Is it the simplest to code? To
                        invent? To explain? Does simple mean fast? To me globals are about the
                        simplest scoping and lifetime management strategy, gotos are the
                        simplest control structure and arrays are the simplest collections. It
                        always seems simpler to grow an existing class than to build a new one.
                        So many "simple" things turn out to be headaches later.

                        What I personally have done, with some success, is to START with the
                        simplest thing that could possibly work and use "what seems easiest to
                        program" as my definition of "simple". This is an application of "make
                        it run, make it right, make it fast". After I've written it I test and
                        refactor (making things I touch "right") until it works, and then I
                        continue refactoring until the whole thing is "right". In practice this
                        means that I start out using a lot of primitive tools that are easily
                        manipulated and end up replacing them with tools that are specialized
                        for the kinds of manipulations that I actually end up doing.

                        I don't know if that's the behavior that the advice was supposed to
                        inspire or even if I actually get the final version of the code written
                        any faster. I can say, though, that it gets my relationship with the
                        code started pretty quickly which keeps my interest high and makes
                        things a little more fun.

                        --
                        Phil Goodwin, Java Software, Sun Microsystems, 408-517-6951, or x66951
                      • Chris Berry
                        Greetings, I would like to suggest that the ListServe shorten the email tag it applies to email from this list. What about, say, [xp]. Then we can see more of
                        Message 11 of 20 , Feb 1, 2000
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                          Greetings,

                          I would like to suggest that the ListServe shorten the email tag it applies
                          to email from this list. What about, say, [xp]. Then we can see more of
                          what is important on the Subject line of our email readers.

                          Cheers,
                          -- Chris
                        • Michael C. Feathers
                          ... From: Phil Goodwin ... LOC ... one. ... It seems that there are a lot of forces. Ideally a piece of code should be simple to
                          Message 12 of 20 , Feb 1, 2000
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                            ----- Original Message -----
                            From: Phil Goodwin <phil.goodwin@...>
                            > Okay, sure. But what does 'simple' mean anyway? Ron once said to use
                            LOC
                            > as a metric for simplicity. Is that it? Is it the fewest number of
                            > methods? Classes? Function points? Is it the simplest to code? To
                            > invent? To explain? Does simple mean fast? To me globals are about the
                            > simplest scoping and lifetime management strategy, gotos are the
                            > simplest control structure and arrays are the simplest collections. It
                            > always seems simpler to grow an existing class than to build a new
                            one.
                            > So many "simple" things turn out to be headaches later.

                            It seems that there are a lot of forces. Ideally a piece of code
                            should be simple to understand, simple to change, and simple to
                            code.

                            One thing I've discovered when trying to do what Kent and
                            Ron talk about is that good object factoring allows me to strike a
                            balance between those three things. For instance, when you
                            extract a class, you get to introduce a name which conveys intent
                            a bit more. If the extraction was really warranted, two classes are
                            easier to understand on their own and together after the extraction.
                            Each resulting class is also closed under more changes. But
                            isn't it easier to code the larger class? Yes, but if it costs too much
                            on the other two prongs of simplicity, you refactor.

                            I just think that the OO flavor of simplicity is different. Sometimes
                            I look at some very clear procedural code and realize that it
                            conveys intent very well, but it would fail on other two prongs
                            of simplicity. Things like 'replace conditional with polymorphism'
                            may not be too simple from the procedural point of view, but
                            once changeability and dependency management are taken
                            into account, it is a clear win. Simple designs are easily
                            extended. I remember when I read Bob Martin's description
                            of the Dependency Inversion Principle years ago, I realized
                            this is why objects are different. Each interface is a point of
                            variation. You can have a great deal of flexibility without
                            making all sorts of "hooks."

                            > What I personally have done, with some success, is to START with the
                            > simplest thing that could possibly work and use "what seems easiest to
                            > program" as my definition of "simple". This is an application of "make
                            > it run, make it right, make it fast". After I've written it I test and
                            > refactor (making things I touch "right") until it works, and then I
                            > continue refactoring until the whole thing is "right". In practice
                            this
                            > means that I start out using a lot of primitive tools that are easily
                            > manipulated and end up replacing them with tools that are specialized
                            > for the kinds of manipulations that I actually end up doing.

                            Yeah, I do that too. It is a great way to get started. I usually stick
                            a spike in the ground.. some interface that I can test behind and
                            then write brute force code that I can refactor into better
                            structure as it occurs to me.


                            Michael

                            ---------------------------------------------------
                            Michael Feathers mfeathers@...
                            Object Mentor Inc. www.objectmentor.com
                            Training/Mentoring/Development
                            -----------------------------------------------------
                            "You think you know when you can learn, are more sure when
                            you can write, even more when you can teach, but certain when
                            you can program. " - Alan Perlis
                          • Phil Goodwin
                            ... My friend who is receiving XP tutoring from Don Robert says that they are literally programming the simplest thing that could possibly make the simplest of
                            Message 13 of 20 , Feb 1, 2000
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                              At 06:01 PM 2/1/00 -0500, Michael C. Feathers wrote:
                              >----- Original Message -----
                              >From: Phil Goodwin <phil.goodwin@...>
                              > > Okay, sure. But what does 'simple' mean anyway?

                              >It seems that there are a lot of forces. Ideally a piece of code
                              >should be simple to understand, simple to change, and simple to
                              >code.
                              >
                              >One thing I've discovered when trying to do what Kent and
                              >Ron talk about is that good object factoring allows me to strike a
                              >balance between those three things. For instance, when you
                              >extract a class, you get to introduce a name which conveys intent
                              >a bit more. If the extraction was really warranted, two classes are
                              >easier to understand on their own and together after the extraction.
                              >Each resulting class is also closed under more changes. But
                              >isn't it easier to code the larger class? Yes, but if it costs too much
                              >on the other two prongs of simplicity, you refactor.

                              My friend who is receiving XP tutoring from Don Robert says that they are
                              literally programming the simplest thing that could possibly make the
                              simplest of tests work. That's simplest as in simplest to program and also
                              the simplest problem. While listening to him talk about it tonight the
                              ambiguity of the notion of simplicity fell away. What I got was essentially
                              that if the initial code had any chance at all of being the least bit
                              interesting it was too complicated. All the interesting/complex stuff they
                              were doing was coming from refactoring.

                              >I just think that the OO flavor of simplicity is different. Sometimes
                              >I look at some very clear procedural code and realize that it
                              >conveys intent very well, but it would fail on other two prongs
                              >of simplicity. Things like 'replace conditional with polymorphism'
                              >may not be too simple from the procedural point of view, but
                              >once changeability and dependency management are taken
                              >into account, it is a clear win. Simple designs are easily
                              >extended. I remember when I read Bob Martin's description
                              >of the Dependency Inversion Principle years ago, I realized
                              >this is why objects are different. Each interface is a point of
                              >variation. You can have a great deal of flexibility without
                              >making all sorts of "hooks."

                              Flexibility and understandability are forces that are at odds with
                              simplicity. I think that simplicity is a starting point and is used as a
                              currency with which to buy expressiveness and flexibility. You buy
                              expressiveness after you've got something to work and are about to leave it
                              behind and you buy flexibility just as it's needed. At least that's my
                              understanding for today.

                              Phil
                            • Kent Beck
                              Let s review the rules. In order: 1. Run all the test cases 2. Communicate everything you need to communicate 3. No duplication 4. Fewest possible classes and
                              Message 14 of 20 , Feb 2, 2000
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                                Let's review the rules. In order:
                                1. Run all the test cases
                                2. Communicate everything you need to communicate
                                3. No duplication
                                4. Fewest possible classes and methods

                                If you did something simple, it meets the rules. If the next person coming
                                along copies some of your code into their class, it doesn't meet the rules.
                                Don't do that.

                                Martin tells me that my definition of "simple" isn't clear. I think perhaps
                                the problem is that I shouldn't use the word "simple". Something like
                                "normalized" or "factored" is better, but it doesn't capture the
                                communication aspect.

                                Kent
                              • Michael C. Feathers
                                ... From: Phil Goodwin ... Sometimes ... a ... leave it ... Yes, there are all sorts of definitions of simplicity. I like to take the
                                Message 15 of 20 , Feb 2, 2000
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                                  ----- Original Message -----
                                  From: Phil Goodwin <pgoodwin@...>
                                  > At 06:01 PM 2/1/00 -0500, Michael C. Feathers wrote:
                                  > >I just think that the OO flavor of simplicity is different.
                                  Sometimes
                                  > >I look at some very clear procedural code and realize that it
                                  > >conveys intent very well, but it would fail on other two prongs
                                  > >of simplicity. Things like 'replace conditional with polymorphism'
                                  > >may not be too simple from the procedural point of view, but
                                  > >once changeability and dependency management are taken
                                  > >into account, it is a clear win. Simple designs are easily
                                  > >extended. I remember when I read Bob Martin's description
                                  > >of the Dependency Inversion Principle years ago, I realized
                                  > >this is why objects are different. Each interface is a point of
                                  > >variation. You can have a great deal of flexibility without
                                  > >making all sorts of "hooks."
                                  >
                                  > Flexibility and understandability are forces that are at odds with
                                  > simplicity. I think that simplicity is a starting point and is used as
                                  a
                                  > currency with which to buy expressiveness and flexibility. You buy
                                  > expressiveness after you've got something to work and are about to
                                  leave it
                                  > behind and you buy flexibility just as it's needed. At least that's my
                                  > understanding for today.

                                  Yes, there are all sorts of definitions of simplicity. I like to take
                                  the broad one, because I've noticed that 'simple to understand',
                                  'simple to implement', and 'simple to change' all feed into each
                                  other when I am going on the right track. The Venn diagram
                                  has such a large intersection that I don't feel that one
                                  happens at much expense to the others. Maybe I'm not
                                  being introspective enough on this point.

                                  That said, I agree about starting with 'simple to implement.'
                                  Of the three, though, I like to shoot for 'simple to understand'
                                  because it offers the most bang for the buck.


                                  Michael

                                  ---------------------------------------------------
                                  Michael Feathers mfeathers@...
                                  Object Mentor Inc. www.objectmentor.com
                                  Training/Mentoring/Development
                                  -----------------------------------------------------
                                  "You think you know when you can learn, are more sure when
                                  you can write, even more when you can teach, but certain when
                                  you can program. " - Alan Perlis
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