Narcissus by Caravaggio

Do you know who Narcissus is? He is a character of ancient Greek mythology, so attracted from his own beauty to forget to eat only to look to his reflection in a river. And what about you, my dear developer? Are you like Narcissus? Do you spend hours in creating wonderful structures and classes, fancy functions and stunning algorithms? Don't you feel just like Narcissus?

Assuming you are a developer, for what purpose do you write code?

If you answered anything else from "solving problems", I'm afraid you are similar to Narcissus. This is what we are paid for: to solve someone else's problems. Possibly in the best way. But the amount of work should not be excessive.

I've been there before, I know what I'm saying. Once, when I was a (bad) C++ programmer, I've designed a wonderful class hierarchy to solve a trivial problem. The worst thing is that the function that uses those classes is probably used by 1% of the customers.

The general rule is: the effort must be proportional to the importance.

The most important thing is to complete a project. And right after it comes code readability. Beauty is on the bottom. Not because beauty is not important, but because it is not the purpose of your job. And you must be open to dirty your code when needed. But this is material for another post.

Image taken from Wikimedia Commons (public domain).