I say this as a design dude that became a developer because I got tired of developer's telling me what could and couldn't be done.

In my career, I can honestly say 90% of devs make shit overly complicated so they can impress other devs.

It's the 21st century, homie. Things should be getting _easier_ to use, not harder.

True there is something to be said about learning about programming to help bridge that gap, but as devs, we gotta meet them more than halfway.

Because we know how.

There is a fluidity to great design that when it is done well, it disappears. The greatest design is invisible.

This is the same ethos I would like to see applied to development and programming. Of course, there isn't going to be a one to one translation, but good development should be easily digestible, not a marathon of unraveling some random insufferable person's theories.

I'm often disappointed with devs because so many are invested in keeping it a mystery.

And that's some bullshit.


One of the things I am proud of is that I consistently hear how easy my code is to follow and pick up. I value that feedback from my peers.

On the flip, it's interesting how I've actually gotten push back from others 'critiquing' my coding saying it is 'too simple', which generally reveals to me the mindset of a shop. A lot of folks, A LOT, get off by making overly complicated code.

In my estimation, this one of the biggest reasons that keeps programming from being as accessible as it should

@Are0h That's a great source of pride! Write code that looks like anyone could write it, and anyone will be able to read and enjoy.

Someone was just explaining the logic to me that simpler code is easier to debug, anyway. I already thought people should keep it clear and straightforward, but I haven't gotten far enough into writing my own to have made the connection that it's a bad move on its face. So really the only justification to make code flashy is... to feel superior? :flan_think:

@pamela There are some times that really require some complex thinking, so not across the board.

But most of us aren't building proprietary enterprise level solutions that require this kind of work.

So I'd say either superiority or to hide the fact one just doesn't know what they're doing.

The enterprise level solutions are the ones that need simply and easy to read code the most. These projects last a long time and you have many developers working on the same code.

But just as you said there are cases where code has to be complex. I think the key word here is that it needs to be as simple as possible but no simpler, to paraphrase Einstein who I believe said it first.

@loke To a certain extent this is true, but when you're building something specific that there aren't readily available solutions for, you have to figure it out. And that process isn't always sexy.

Ideally, you'll get to that point with enough effort, but you can't really solve problems until you know they are problems, so it takes time to figure that out.


@Are0h @loke @pamela honestly in my experience the enterprise solutions are the ones with the most unnecessary complexity and shows of machismo X'D
(although open source has a *lot* of that too!—to our perpetual chagrin..)

i think the only things that really need to be truly complex are little algorithms of the kind you read about in Donald Knuth's books or in cryptography or etc., but those can be tucked away into cute little bundles with abstraction so people don't need to be overwhelmed :'3

@codepuppy @loke @pamela I would absolutely agree with this.

Yeah, there's a place for them just like everything else. Making a show of complex it is rather than putting it in it's place is a sport in the tech game. And it rarely helps the quality of the project.

@pamela @Are0h this. it's a dick-measuring context, with brains as a proxy. who is the smartest fucker in the room? me! me! me! not intentionally excluding women, and people of color, but certainly a major side effect

@Are0h Wait like, literally "too simple"? I've never heard that one before. I have heard "oh that's nice and simple" as praise, though.

@grainloom @varx Ha, this is not why I received that comment as one cannot determine that in one interview.

@Are0h Reminds me of how Mark Twain could write very accessible prose only because he was such a skilled writer.

@Are0h like unless simplicity somehow majorly detracts from efficiency somehow, I don't see how anyone could mount a reasonable argument for "more complicated code" other than to just be elitist. Like that goes against like all the best practices of programming!!

Good for you for doing your best to make accessable and usable code :D

@Are0h This is the #1 metric I use when interviewing someone. I've also been told that it's the main reason the go language was designed the way it was (to make it hard/impossible for people to write hard-to-read code).

@bamfic I haven't paid much attention to Go, so I didn't know this. That's pretty damning.

@trwnh @Are0h I once bought a book of very clever little efficient programming snippets titled "Hacker's delight" hoping it would teach me some neat tricks...

Ended up treating that book as a list of idioms I don't ever want to see used in projects I'm involved in.

@stsp @trwnh Back in the day when I was first starting doing corporate design work, me and my team would just make up words to see if other departments would start using them to sound like they knew what they were talking about.

They always did. And they had no idea that the words they were using were completely meaningless.

It was... educational.

@Are0h I recently learned from a friend there's a start-up culture that divides co-workers into two categories: "good" developers and "bad" developers. Such toxic nonsense.

I've gotten used to the mindset that complexity is the enemy and my code will be ugly and have bugs no matter how hard I try and I'm always happy when others locate issues in my code. I wouldn't wanna work with people telling me I was a bad developer for making mistakes. Glad I don't have to work for start-ups!

@stsp Honestly, I don't like working for start-ups. They promise all of these grand ideas and outcomes, but more often than not just result in one being overworked in the extreme and underpaid.

It's a culture that pits people against each other in terms of who is willing to be exploited the most to the the 'best'.

Toxic is a great word for it. They are just not healthy places and they rarely turn out good work.


Hearing you say this... yes. I don't care about "elegant" code, I care about being able to understand it.

I'm deep into writing a book and... as soon as it's in a shape where it can be critiqued, I'd love to have you be the first to peer review it.

@ghedipunk I don't think those two things are mutually exclusive. It just takes work to achieve both.

If you think I can help, sure. I appreciate the consideration.

I feel like you're totally describing my reaction whenever I try to build with any of the JS front-end frameworks.

@ross LOL, I feel you. I rarely use any of them myself, although I am a bit fond of Vue.

A lot of them just seem completely unnecessary and just complicate the goal in the first place.

@Are0h Yeah, I feel like Vue is the one that just tries to get out of my way the most, but they're all a bit much.

Sign in to participate in the conversation
Social @ PV

The social network of the future: No ads, no corporate surveillance, ethical design, and decentralization! Own your data with Mastodon!