So simple

I’ve been in a software archtiect role now for nearing 7 years. Before that I was a messaging specialist (someone who focused on the always critical email systems for large corporations).
One of the first mentors I had used to always tell me when it came to building a solution for a customer, the KISS principle was always the best to follow (Keep it simple, stupid!). Over the years I have thought about that concept a lot. What is simple?
A former boss used to say "simple or elegant" you can’t have both.
It’s confusing to me, this separation. People want simple, but simple is seldom elegant. Simple is get things done.
But is it? Is simplicity simply getting things done?
Or is complexity not elegance?
I’ve thought about that issue for a long time. thoughts?

2 thoughts on “So simple

  1. I think it\’s a philosophical fallacy that you\’re running into.  I think that simplicity has several meanings:
    Simple to understand
    Simple to implement
    Simple to interact with
    I think simple to understand is hard to design.  I think that simple to implement is usually hard to interact with.  I think simple to interact with is usually complex to understand.  There are probably more meanings loaded into "simple" that I\’m just not coming up with right now.
    I think that there are two fallacies that people run up against when trying to assert that the goal is to "KISS".  The first one is that their definition of simple encompasses multiple meanings that may be mutually exclusive.  The second is that they try to make an argument that relies on a shift in the definition of simple partway through the argument.
    I think it\’s a worthy goal to try to determine which of the above goals is the most important to you and then try to balance the other two, but it\’s not a simple process 😉

  2. I agree. And yet the quest seems so simple and yet so hard.
    I guess its time to take a week off and figure this out.

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