At developer summit in Stockholm a couple of weeks ago I attended a great talk by Jim Webber titled "Guerrilla SOA". On one slide he listed some causes for why SOA and ESB solutions quickly degrade to a pile of spaghetti.  One of the causes was that developers take:

"The Path of least resistance for individual applications"

This line really resonated with how I feel, not in a SOA scenario but for application architecture or just code in general. When you write code you constantly fight either your own design/architecture or some framework and what many developer end up doing (including me sometimes) is taking the path of least resistance, and depending on the application design this might often not be the right path.

Ayende had a post a couple of days ago about zero friction & maintainability in which he writes:

"As it turn out, while code may not rot, the design of the application does. But why?

If you have an environment that has friction in it, there is an incentive for the developers to subvert the design in order to produce a quick fix or hack a solution to solve a problem. Creating a zero friction environment will produce a system where there is no incentive to corrupt the design, the easiest thing to do is the right thing to do.

By reducing the friction in the environment, you increase the system maintainability"

A big goal when designing an application or framework should be to make the path of least resistance the right path. This is of course easier said than done and I think you will never get the perfect design where every right way is the easy way. So when we head down the path of least resistance knowing it is the wrong way, why do we do it? It could be time constraints, plain laziness or some other hurdle. When making the decision it is important to weigh in possible future problems and maintainability issues that could potentially be very costly.

Well that is all I had to say about this for now, stay away from the path of least resistance (unless it is the right path!).


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