Small Moments in Software Philosophy

I've been using my tiny slice of computer time to write software lately, and haven't spared any cycles for writing articles. In lieu of that, here's a series of lost notes to accompany some of my recent twitter outburts.

Abstractions should be as high-level as possible, and no higher. #

Einstein of course said,

"Make everything as simple as possible, but no simpler."

... and that's a kind of programming mantra, as so often in our race to simplify we end up over-simplifying. (The famous 'Worse Is Better' philosophy could be phrased as an argument that sometimes you should actually sacrifice correctness for the sake of the simplicity -- i.e. 'Einstein was wrong.')

In a similar vein, I think there there is such a thing as 'too abstract'. And it is a terrible thing.

Pre-emptive Abstraction is at least as bad as Premature Optimization #

  • If your class name contains the word "Abstract" -- you're doing it wrong.
  • If ClassName.Contains("FactoryFactory") -- you're doing it wrong.
  • If Your ClassName Ends With "BaseBase" -- you're doing it wrong.
  • If ClassName.Contains("Factory") && ClassName.Contains("Provider") -- you're doing it wrong.

Economists re-evaluate bird in hand as 1.9 times bird in bush. #

A more appropriate tweet might've been:

'Economists write down bird in bush to 0.45 times bird in hand.'

Or:

'Government provides 8 trillion birds-in-hand to replace 16 trillion birds lost in bush.'

Someone (I think that cockroach poet Archy) once called humanity something like "a strange species of bipeds who cannot run fast enough to collect the money which they owe themselves."

i am *not* homophobic. Infact, some of my best friends have iPhones. #

And I'm still waiting to see them make the millions of dollars from iPhone apps that they promised themselves last year.

If a job's not worth doing, it's not worth doing properly #

The original statement: "If a job's worth doing, it's worth doing properly" has the corollary that any job that is not worth doing properly is therefore not worth doing at all.

This is patently absurb and a kind of shining example of why perfectionism doesn't pay.

The slightly twisted variation:

If a job's not worth doing, it's not worth doing properly

...may seem defeatist and sloppy -- but i think it's the very soul of true productivity.

That's what no one seems to appreciate about being rich: the first 100 bazillion is the hardest. #

After that, you can just sit back and live off the interest of the interest.

And your next code editor is... a browser. #

I still think it's true -- and once i get a bunch of other things out of my todo pile -- i'm going to make it happen. Maybe.

Meanwhile I'm working on TimeSnapper v.Next, and tinkering on something tentatively called MetaNote -- about which you'll be hearing more.

 

I'm currently writing a book about how to build your first product. If you want to build your first product, please sign up to be notified when the book is available.

(By the way, I read every comment and often respond.)

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