Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Complex isn't cool

I was IMing a coworker today talking about the ASP page/application life cycle. I made a common comment of mine, that the Internet is nothing but a terrible hack of a way to deliver applications. Then I commented, "web programming is so darn complicated" to which he responded, "yeah, ain't it great?"
While I think I can understand his basic point, this is something that was written about recently at worse than failure. While that post received lots of negative comments, there was no disagreement that developers often complicate things unnecessarily, which appeals to our engineering drive, and that often a better solution is the more mundane.
When I was in school I marveled at how complicated my code was. All that does this! Since it was my brain child (and only I could wrap my brain around it) there was a certain intellectual satisfaction involved.
As developers, we should all be on the lookout for this. The system gains nothing from it, and the next guy (whether ourself or some other monkey) stands to lose much (time, productivity, etc.).
It is sort of neat that a gazillion things come together to allow for killer apps on the Internet, but I would be very hip to a better solution (a standardized way to deliver smart clients or something). I'm not currently working on web apps, but when I do I always groan at the mountains of work that I'll have to put towards debugging the platform.
As I've already written (but can't be repeated often enough), simplicity (or reduction of complexity) is the most important goal in development.