Why is Programming so Hard? – Incidental and Accidental Complexity


Accidental complexity can be referred to as technical debt or sometimes spoken about as incidental complexity – ultimately there is a difference between conscious and unconscious sources of poor code. If it is deliberately decided to deliver suboptimal products, there is a perceived hurry to ship to market. If there is a strong enough incentive to pay the cost of rushing a product, the scenario incurs technical debt because there was a conscious decision to incur that debt. However, this post points out that often when speaking of technical debt, the poor code is not a result of expedited release but because of poor skill or lack of understanding – all in all this code is not tech debt but is sloppy code.

The post recommends speaking about whether lack of quality in code was intentional or not by calling the lack of quality “lack of craftsmanship”. When looking at source code sometimes there is a complexity present that could have been avoided if there were more time, money, or skill. This post states that figuring out the difference between sloppy code and technical debt doesn’t really matter, as the actions needed to resolve the problems caused by both are the same. As long as there is an awareness of the distinction between releasing ‘too early’ for different reasons and that there is always room to improve skills in order to avoid unnecessary complexity.

To read the full post go to: http://xlntconsulting.blogspot.ca/2014/11/why-is-programming-so-hard.html

Filed in: Technical Debt
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