Rewriting the whole code base from scratch is often very tempting when you're knee-deep in APIs that started out reasonable, got changed due to changing specs, got changed again because one programmer felt like it, then got changed again because another programmer realized that the API didn't actually work. And so on.
You say to yourself "Bah, I could rewrite this from scratch in a week and still have time to leave early on friday". You convince your boss and your colleagues that you can do it and they give you thumbs up. You sit down monday morning, pour a cup of coffee and start to type away. And then you're screwed.
The thing is, a lot of thought has gone into you existing code. It looks ugly, yes, but that's because it already contains the bug fixes, the workaraounds and the quick hacks that make the system run in your choosen production environment with all its limitations, known issues and bugs. If you start over, chances are that you're gonna have to reconstruct all this accumulated knowledge all over again.
That said, and with the java-bashing going on in this thread, I'd like to publicly state that I love java. Thank you.
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