Excellent Blog Post on Creeping Missions
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Brad Taunt’s a guy I met on Mastodon. I really like his work on web design minimailism: his version of the CSS checkbox hack, a simpler CraigsList gallery, or fitting a website in just one kilobyte. Taunt is one of a few people who motivated me to build the static-site generator I use for this site’s blog.
His latest blog post (2023-01-09) is one I heartily agree with. He describes having to replace his Keurig coffee-maker twice in five months. A case of planned obsolescence? No, says Taunt, the problem was the Keurig was designed to do too much. His Keurig combines the pod method with a percolator, and what was intended to provide more choice and less footprint on the kitchen counter instead offers more points of failure.
I very much agree. Each new feature added to software means more complexity, more bugs, more work to maintain. When I’m working on Nantucket E-Books, I try to put as much work into taking unnecessary features out, as putting new features in. A simpler e-book, and simpler software to build the e-books, means it can be maintained for less time and money, and will break less often for the reader. I don’t see the push for a simple e-book as conflicting with my goal to make the best e-books on the planet: the best e-book should be simple, while providing superlative reading experience.
I would encourage anyone starting out in software development to build an application that does one thing, but does it very well. You’ll make things a whole lot easier, not just for yourself, but your customers as well.
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