Johan wrote this
@ 2020-10-04


There’s a recognizable type of snobbery that stems from mastery, and you can see it practically everywhere. A common one is in architecture: the people chosen to build our cities and houses are generally pretty far removed from what people think of as, well, uh, for lack of a better word, “good." Experienced architects, almost to a man, will swoon over the most angular and nondescript concrete buildings you can imagine. They see a purity there, which to the rest of us looks more like oppressive blandness. It’s super common: wine snobs will gravitate towards manually harvested and macerated grapes with no added yeast — it might taste like the devil’s own piss to you, but to them it’s the pure expression of the terroir. With time and experience, people seem to gravitate towards austerity.

Us developers, we’re the same: give a dev a couple of years in the trenches and they’ll grow tired of features, instead gaining an appreciation for the simple and effective. Where previously you could spend entire days getting your build pipeline juuust right you’re now seriously considering ditching or downgrading a feature instead of adding a complex dependency. That SASS nesting you loved a few years now looks ugly, and why on earth did you ever choose to transpile to JS? You’re even eyeing your trusty old redis instance, which always felt indispensable and bulletproof, but whose jobs now seem like they could be done in-memory or in Postgres, allowing you to hack away another piece of your application. Statically generated HTML suddenly makes you tingle in all the right places.

You start looking for the soul of your application. The sculpture is what’s left of the marble when you’re done cutting.

Complexity comes in many flavors, and we often mistake simplicity for ease. They’re not the same! Sometimes you’ll sacrifice a lot of simplicity to gain ease, and you’ll probably learn that lesson the hard way. But simplicity and ease will often be found near one another, and it’s usually worth defending simplicity until the exact moment it has proved itself inadequate. Mastery leads to snobbery leads to austerity. Don’t swim upstream! Embrace it.