Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Engineering definition: elegant

Elegant (adj.): “I’m being an unnecessarily clever d!ck about this, and that’s going to open up a lorry-sized hole in my design that I won’t see because I’m being too smug about how clever this solution is. Oh, and it’ll be harder to fix, understand, build, troubleshoot, and use, but I saved $.000001 on each unit by committing untold future resources to solving the problems I don’t know I just made. It also took far longer to design than it would have had I done it in a more conventional manner, but that’s okay, because design time is free and per-unit cost is king.”

KISS is the alternative to "elegant", and frequently results in designs which are MORE elegant than trying to be clever produces.

1 comment:

  1. "When in doubt, use brute force."
    --Ken Thompson

    I read that quote very early in my programming career. It has served me well.