Simple apps not always easy to implement

Posted by Kirby Turner on July 8, 2005

A recent thread on the Business of Software discussion forum criticizes FogCreek’s latest project as being simple and something that is easily implemented by an India student for a personal web sites. Personally I think simple software is the better software when it comes to commercial software.

When I see a commercial software product that has me thinking “That is so simple I could implement it myself,” it typically turns out to be a very good product. And experience has taught me that such an application is not always easy to implement.

A pro snowboarder makes riding look so simple. He or she floats on the snow effortlessly making perfect turns and controlling the board as if the board were an extension to his or her own body. In reality carving the perfect turn takes skill. And writing commercial software that looks so simple any programmer could implement it also takes skills.

Writing software for personal use is one thing, but writing software that is thrown into the wild and still looks simple to implement is a much harder challenge. Commercial software has to take into account many more variables than personal or in-house software. This fact alone makes the software harder to implement, and let’s not forget more time consuming.

Don’t believe me? Just try re-writing that simple application and see what kind of effort it really takes.

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