Bloat is bad for you and your code

Steve Yegge has posted yet another of his excellent (and long) rants.  This time he talks about the size of code and why one should jump out of its skin to keep it minimal.

 Most programmers have successfully compartmentalized their beliefs about code base size. Java programmers are unusually severe offenders but are by no means the only ones. In one compartment, they know big code bases are bad. It only takes grade-school arithmetic to appreciate just how bad they can be. If you have a million lines of code, at 50 lines per “page”, that’s 20,000 pages of code. How long would it take you to read a 20,000-page instruction manual? The effort to simply browse the code base and try to discern its overall structure could take weeks or even months, depending on its density. Significant architectural changes could take months or even years.

As I said, it’s a long piece. But it’s worth every paragraph. Even though some Java programmers might be slightly offended by the article, I’m sure it’s not intentional.

Leave a Comment