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Tech Notes: Complexity is the enemy

๐ŸŒˆ Abstract

The article discusses the importance of avoiding complexity in software development, and how simplicity and straightforward design can be more beneficial than adding layers of complexity.

๐Ÿ™‹ Q&A

[01] Complexity is the enemy

1. What are the key points made about complexity in software development?

  • Complexity is the "death of software" - it creeps in slowly and is hard to see until it's too late
  • Adding new features or scaling often increases complexity, such as adding a layer of indirection or splitting a process across multiple machines
  • Complexity makes software harder to write and debug, as "Debugging is twice as hard as writing the code in the first place"
  • Simplicity and straightforward design are preferable to adding layers of complexity

2. How does the author suggest addressing complexity?

  • Having specific design goals to evaluate new code against can help reject unnecessary complexity
  • Using "weaker" tools like C, which have limited capabilities, can make it harder to write overly complex code
  • The author suggests writing Python code with the same simplicity and straightforwardness as C

[02] Lessons from experience

1. What insights has the author gained from their experience working at Google?

  • The author has learned that complexity is a significant challenge in software development, and that it's important to understand when complexity is warranted versus when it should be avoided
  • The author has observed that it's easier to write long, complex code than it is to write straightforward, simple code
  • The author has found that using design goals and "weaker" tools can help limit unnecessary complexity in software projects
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