Why so complex?

Posted by Jim Jagielski on Tuesday, January 23. 2007 in Programming

Now first of all I want to start off by explaining that my intent is not to criticize anyone, or their skills or anything like that. I certainly do NOT have room to talk, since I've made my fair share of bone-headed mistakes before (long ago, after several months of intense Pascal programming, I went back to some C programs that I'd been meaning to update... I made some really stupid mistakes due to still thinking Pascal-like, especially with regards to NULL and pointers, instead of C-like). And, of course, I've designed and coded things based on Requirements From On High, which resulted in a finished product that, although I was proud of how it worked, I wasn't happy with the overall design. Anyway, I was reading this tech-magazine a few days ago and one article was about how they upgraded their auto-update service to SOAP. The small code segment they listed, and the explanation behind the technique, indicated that, basically, they were calling a URL and getting a string back, and then taking actions based on the value of the string. And I thought, Huh? All the overhead of SOAP for that? Now sure, I don't know the full story: maybe the designer/architect/coder had to create something "that uses SOAP" (for whatever reason, likely not good). Or maybe this small example isn't representative of the whole design, where SOAP is used "as it should be." But whatever the reason, all too often designs are way too complex, certainly more than they should be. Instead of elegant, simple solutions, there are too many Rube Goldberg-like setups. Why? And more importantly, what can we do to stop it...

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