Don’t forget the other kind of WTF

Sometimes, the code looks good, but it doesn’t mean that the whole project in itself is good.

First, a project should be simple to install. The install documentation should exist and always be up to date. I encounter too many projects where “inside knowledge” is required to install the application, and you don’t know if it doesn’t work because you didn’t install it right or it just doesn’t work. There should be a single command (makefiles or shell scripts are here for that) for a single task. It should not require weird system settings (this is very annoying with PHP when a lot of the language is customizable through php.ini).

On a similar note, the architecture should be simple to comprehend. When it feels too much like “magic”, when a simple action has too many unsaid consequences, something is wrong. There should not be hundreds of classes and inheritances when an option would be enough (this is an idea found at least in Python and Symfony 1.4 that I quite like). Names should be readable and short, not everyone has or likes using auto-completion.

I’m not sure what creates this kind of WTF. Inexperienced but talented programmers? Programmers who think too high of themselves? Programmers that are not lazy enough?

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One Comment

  1. Ludo
    Posted 2010-08-12 at 1916 | Permalink
    Firefox 3.6.8 Firefox 3.6.8 Windows XP Windows XP
    Maybe it’s just that php programmer are as good as their language.

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