Monday, July 02, 2007
T.H.O. used to be an acronym that a friend of mine would use to describe code in which it was apparent that a developer put his ego before the good of the team. The code exhibits clever behavior when a simple approach would have sufficed. But, the developer had to show off that they knew a certain trick. Sometimes, it can be more sinister. A complete library written from scratch when there are open source equivalents better tested and designed. But, they just couldn't resist doing it themselves (also known as the "not invented here" syndrome). They think they can do better. But, normally, it is some poor maintainer that has to deal with their "better" solution after they are long gone to the next T.H.O. In this day and age, I can't see how anyone can justify writing a library from scratch if there is an open source equivalent. It boggles my mind. Of course, if you think you can do better, then do so on your own open source project and live with the code before causing a maintenance nightmare for years to come. Besides, you'll get valuable feedback and fix bugs from other developers. Value simplicity and doing the least to get the most.
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I think that we a few more people with that T.H.O. attitude to prevent open-source libraries from stagnating. It is a good thing that the incumbent 'standard' library gets regularly challenged by contenders. Without continual selection and reselection, evolution dies and progress stops.
The argument that we only need just one of anything is really unhealthy. It leads to mediocrity: I present J2EE as a perfect example. One of everything you could possibly want, put it all together and what do you have? Crap.
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