Beauty in Simplicity

What I don't like about many applications (both web and desktop apps) is the sense that they need to do everything. Microsoft Word, for example, has thousands of built-in functionality to do all sorts of things that frankly a word processor shouldn't be doing!

Perhaps the wording better fits my rage at those who talk on cell phones while in line at the video store, but I think it applies to our situations as well. Quite simply, developers (and the companies they work for) are doing too much at once.

There is beauty in simplicity, and that simplicity is what we all should strive for. A Standish Group study was presented at XP 2002 by keynote speaker Jim Johnson (see slide 13 of the PDF presentation) in which it was found that 45% of features in a typical system were not used at all – in fact, only 20% of the features were used frequently. So why were those features included int he first place? Because the developers (and/or their managers) were trying to do too much at once.

Its really quite simple people, if you're planning to write an application (web, desktop, or really anything else), make it do what it needs to, what it is supposed to do. The end result will be much cleaner (in terms of bugs) and more beautiful (because it will be easier to use).

[Edit: I also don't like that the comic strip extends off the edge of this WordPress theme... Me thinks it is time to write my own...]

Published on August 24, 2006