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As simple as possible (but no simpler)

In response to my article on under-engineering, reader Caleb Stauffer responded (shared with permission)…

This is the same thing we talk about with dev experience: fewer building and tooling is nearly always better, easier to implement, easier to maintain, less likely to break, and less confusing to future developers.


That doesn’t mean “use no tools at all,” of course. The right mix of tools can be incredibly helpful at automating complex, repetitive tasks.

I think we have a tendency as an industry, though, to approach development with an “if some tools are good, more tools are better” mindset that doesn’t actually play out that way in reality. Typically, more tools means more work to get started, more things to break, and so on.

It reminds me of a quote often attributed to Einstein

Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.