Monday, March 18, 2002

Interview with Joel

Does code rust?

"It may be true for the software that Eick evaluated. It's not true for the software that I've written, because I tend to refactor and clean things up regularly. Half the time when I go into a function to fix a little bug, I figure out a cleaner way to rewrite the whole function, so over time it gets better and better."

"In fact, given the obvious lack of skill of the Outlook programmers who retain the mistakes of earlier versions, I don't think that even the author of that argument would think that having the same guys rewriting Outlook would do much good! In cases like this, I would find a handful of more experienced programmers and charge them with quiet, continuous improvements to the existing code base. I would give them a large block of time to improve code during which no new features were expected or permitted. A few months, though, not the two or three years that a rewrite would require."
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