Why We Fail
Exploring the culture of software development failure
Issue: 8.2 (January/February 2010)
Author: Jens Bendig
Article Description: No description available.
Article Length (in bytes): 5,970
Starting Page Number: 13
RBD Number: 8208
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Excerpt of article text...
An application has three demands: performance, usability, and readability. Teams work on performance and on usability, but not on readability. The reason lies in the different pressure on those demands by the users, developers, and managers on the one hand, plus a phenomenon I call "inverse perception." As long as we developers don't increase the pressure on readability, the inner quality of our code will stay poor.
Importance of readability
So what? Why is readability so important? If the software has no bugs and runs fast and can be delivered in time, why moan? The point is that poor readability will require a bigger effort during the next iteration. And again for the iteration after that, plus the unreadable code we produce with that new iteration, and so on. We make the current iteration cheaper while increasing the costs of future iterations. In the discussion of global economics this phenomenon is called a lack of sustainability. Within the world of software developing, it's often not even seen as a problem.
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