Thursday, December 20, 2007

Steve Yegge Makes You Smarter

I worked "near" Steve while he was Amazon. We were on interview loops together and occasionally sat in meetings together etc. I also started reading his blog when it was just an internal company blog.... I never had the chance to work on his team, but every time he says something publicly I regret that.

In his most recent rant he tackles the "problem" of code-base size. I've done my fair share of refactoring in Amazon's massive code base, and after having been working in Ruby for the past couple years it's crystal clear how VALUABLE concision is. It's really amusing all of the commenters on the post who say "the number of lines isn't a problem when you have nicely modularized code...." They have a point when they argue that Steve doesn't count the number of lines of code in the kernel's of our OSes, etc. but generally I think they miss the general point that he's making which I would characterize as "your language and the expressiveness of that language affects how much code you'll be responsible for" and "the more code you have the less possible it is to keep it in your head" (reconsider his point about 1M lines of code with 50 lines per "page" being equivalent to a 20,000 page manual. He seems to echo some of what Paul Graham has said.

Either way, if you're into software. Steve is well worth reading and thinking his thoughts.

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