I must admit that there has been many a time that I've come up with some beautiful piece of code that does exactly what I want it to do in one line or two, and then I have to pollute it and expand it with all of the error checking conditions. Most annoying, but necessary.
The approach that I take to my code is "Make things as simple as possible, but no simpler". In other words, brevity is good and worthwhile and whatnot, but as soon as you start sacrificing necessary functionality or readability, you're trying to make it too short and you need to slow down a little.
Most of my code tends to be fairly readable as a result. :)
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in thread COBOL vs. Perl