Blog Details
  • June 25, 2023 08:38
  • Lee Fischman

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A mix of practicality, subjectivity, and formality In software, as in other domains, the word elegant is imbued with power. I’ve marveled at how elegance manifests in many forms and have always sought elegance in my work. But to appreciate elegance, one has to keep an open mind about whether it’s always worth attaining. Are elegant solutions more understandable and maintainable? Are elegant words clearer and more powerful? Are elegant designs easier to use? Is elegant software architecture easier to implement? In fact, there is a difference between practicality, simplicity, usability, and elegance, and the desirability of each attribute does vary. First, what is elegance? Let’s go looking for it. There is particularly pure elegance in math. Euler’s identity is a poster child, conveying so much, yet in such a compact form:

A mix of practicality, subjectivity, and formality In software, as in other domains, the word elegant is imbued with power. I’ve marveled at how elegance manifests in many forms and have always sought elegance in my work. But to appreciate elegance, one has to keep an open mind about whether it’s always worth attaining. Are elegant solutions more understandable and maintainable? Are elegant words clearer and more powerful? Are elegant designs easier to use? Is elegant software architecture easier to implement? In fact, there is a difference between practicality, simplicity, usability, and elegance, and the desirability of each attribute does vary. First, what is elegance? Let’s go looking for it. There is particularly pure elegance in math. Euler’s identity is a poster child, conveying so much, yet in such a compact form:

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