Clarity vs. code reuse/generality

Martin Vilcans martin at
Mon Jul 6 09:44:33 CEST 2009

On Fri, Jul 3, 2009 at 4:05 PM, kj< at> wrote:
> I'm will be teaching a programming class to novices, and I've run
> into a clear conflict between two of the principles I'd like to
> teach: code clarity vs. code reuse.  I'd love your opinion about
> it.

In general, code clarity is more important than reusability.
Unfortunately, many novice programmers have the opposite impression. I
have seen too much convoluted code written by beginners who try to
make the code generic. Writing simple, clear, to-the-point code is
hard enough as it is, even when not aiming at making it reusable.

If in the future you see an opportunity to reuse the code, then and
only then is the time to make it generic.

YAGNI is a wonderful principle.

martin at

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