If your code doesn’t solve a problem, it creates more.

I have already been working on startup projects for about 2 years. Startup software engineering is not easy because the requirements change a lot, and they change quickly. The code that is written today might become useless next week, sometimes even worse that it hasn’t been used at all.

Through out the development process, we are constantly implementing new features for the new requirements. This process is often limited by the existing designs including the database design and system architecture  You either need to dive in and make a lot of changes, or commit to the current design and work on a hackish patch to provide that feature. This makes me think, “It would be much better if I didn’t write that code at the very beginning.” If your code doesn’t solve a problem, it creates more. The requirements will eventually change and smack you into your face.

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Ancient soldiers don’t carry the most powerful weapons or armours to war, because they are heavy. Most prefer leather armours or chain mails over plate mails, it is much lighter and also cheaper. In fact, soldiers travel over 90% of the time during wars. A more powerful gear could have exhausted them before they fight. Similarly in software engineering, you need to maintain your code base all the time. You want to be lightweight and swift so that you can be ready for the requirement changes.

Simple modular design in Unix is probably why it is still widely used nowadays (Of course, the free, open source is also a major factor).

Related reading:
http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2007/05/the-best-code-is-no-code-at-all.html
http://www.skrenta.com/2007/05/code_is_our_enemy.html

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