On cruft, or, channeling Lao-Zi

I discovered this insightful nugget over on Slashdot.

It was posted in response to a disillusioned “Ask Slashdot” submitter pondering whether such a thing as “Pretty Code” exists.

Cruftiness is the quality of having cruft. Cruft is the stuff that accumulates on code over time. Cruft has no odor, but it stinks. Cruft has no mass, but it weighs the code down. Cruft can’t be seen, but it’s ugly. Cruft cannot be young, it’s always old. Cruft can’t be deliberately added, it only appears when you’re not looking.

Cruft can’t be explained to managers, except through awkward car analogies. They still won’t get it because managers drive well-maintained elegant foreign cars like BMW’s, which gather no cruft. Programmers understand, because their Fords and Chevys are practically built of cruft. Harley motorcycles should have cruft, but noise dissipates cruft. Cruft is mysterious.

Cruft is never present on code which hasn’t had enough work. Cruft only appears on code which has been worked too long, by too many people.

Brilliant.

New to Ajax development? Want to get better?

18 July 2007 » Ajax, JavaScript, Web development

There’s a solid “guide for the perplexed” that’s been published recently over at IBM developerWorks.

It’s well-written, task-based, and full of links. You could call it a recommended reading list spliced with a recommended todo list.

Despite the title, it’s useful to those looking to upgrade their Ajax development toolbox with new debugging aids, IDEs, toolkits and testing utilities, as well as folks new to Ajax.

All in all a nice article.

Time for another Godzilla remake

16 July 2007 » Potpourri

Tragic of course, but this is how great movies are born.

A small amount of water containing radioactive substances leaked into the sea, officials said, and a fire broke out at the plant in Kashiwazaki.

Uchino said the water contained a tiny amount of radioactive material — a billionth of the guideline under Japanese law — and is believed to have flushed into the Sea of Japan.