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Keep It Simple Stupid

KISS is another of my favourite principles. It can be traced back to Kelly Johnson, chief engineer on Lockheed Skunk Works, and in charge of such projects as the Lockheed U2 and SR-71 Blackbird spy planes.

Other proponents of KISS are:

  • Albert Einstein: "everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler"
  • Leonardo Da Vinci: "Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication"
  • Antoine de Saint Exupéry: "It seems that perfection is reached not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away".

If you want to read a very entertaining story on how to build something of very high quality, read: Skunk Works by Ben R. Rich and Leo Janos (1996) (ISBN 0316743003)


And Brian W. Kernighan has an interesting observation on not following KISS: "Debugging is twice as hard as writing the code in the first place. Therefore, if you write the code as cleverly as possible, you are, by definition, not smart enough to debug it."