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Re: Should I leave behind beautiful code or readable code?

by graff (Chancellor)
on Mar 29, 2007 at 05:17 UTC ( #607162=note: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to Should I leave behind beautiful code or readable code?

Something about the OP comments (probably the remark about letting "pride prevail") reminded me of one of the earliest PM Meditations that I ever replied to (On Hubris -- my own reply was admittedly somewhat off the mark, but the thread as a whole was delightful). The main point raised there by the venerable belg4mit is quite relevant here, I think.

A programmer (that is, any programmer who derives any amount of personal satisfaction from his or her work) may be naturally inclined to feel that the some piece of code s/he has just written is really good code. But that sense of "what qualifies as really good code" is prone to evolve over time, and stuff you wrote a year (or even a few months) ago may not measure up quite as well when held against your current standards. If viewed again another year from now, well...

And of course, the direction of that evolution is bound to be influenced by your environment. Different (possibly mutually exclusive) things may seem more important (cross-platform robustness, rapid development, modularity, etc) depending on your recent, current and anticipated situations.

Your sense of what is "readable" and what is "beautiful" will change with age. As others have intimated, you may reach that truly enlightened state where "readable" is "beautiful" and vice-versa.

So for now, put aside the more emotional judgments, just do what you think is "right", and hope for the best.


Comment on Re: Should I leave behind beautiful code or readable code?
Re^2: Should I leave behind beautiful code or readable code?
by dwhite20899 (Pilgrim) on Mar 31, 2007 at 22:43 UTC
    Amen, brother!

    I recently got pulled back to working on perl I wrote 4 years ago. I was doing cute stuff back then, that I thought was Great Code (tm) that I'd be embarrassed to post here. Thank (deity) that I left boatloads of comments in there, or I'd have been hours figuring it out again.

    Some pieces of code *are* great, but it may be useless to posterity if someone doesn't have the time (and the comments) to understand it.

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