The Joy Of Deleting Code

March 29, 2007 Alex Chaffee

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Mark and I were just waxing poetic about how great it is to delete code, especially code you just wrote. We pity the attitude of people who think deleting code is somehow wrong — they feel so guilty that they won’t even delete it right off, they just comment it out, and then check it in… We came up with the following simile:

Writing code is circling your way around a solution, like a dog on the hunt. When you’re done, the final solution is going to be a lot smaller than your original perimeter.

This reminds me (Alex) of my favorite quote about writing: “Murder your darlings,” said by Sir Arthur Quiller-Couchor was it..?

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