Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Uses Of Simplicity

Seeing the world in a grain of sand has physical and metaphysical implications as this slide show proves. Whatever the perspective, a grain of sand is not as inconsequential as it may seem. Similarly when watermelon is carved to look like a blossom , or butter to look like a diety, they like the grain of sand transcend the limitations of their identity. Nothing is as simple as it seems Joel Spolsky notes . He cites the example of the many complications that can come into play with a simple file read and write operation. He says :

Something as simple as copying a file is full of perils. What if the first argument is a directory? What if the second argument is a file? What if a file with the same name already exists in the destination? What if you don't have write permission?

What if the copy fails in the middle? What if the destination is on a remote machine which is available, but which requires authentication to continue? What if the files are large and the link is slow and you need to show a progress indicator? What if the transfer speed slows down to almost zero... when do you give up and return an error message?

As fascinating as it is to watch a broccoli carved to resemble a poodle or discover the hidden universe in a grain of sand, sometimes it's nice to be able to rush headlong without paying any attention to possible complications that may come along the way. We might get a memorable or regretable romantic enocunter, an unplanned vacation or a software application from hell.

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