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Thinking in Java
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Plans pay off

Of course you wouldn’t build a house without a lot of carefully drawn plans. If you build a deck or a dog house your plans won’t be so elaborate, but you’ll probably still start with some kind of sketches to guide you on your way. Software development has gone to extremes. For a long time, people didn’t have much structure in their development, but then big projects began failing. In reaction, we ended up with methodologies that had an intimidating amount of structure and detail, primarily intended for those big projects. These methodologies were too scary to use—it looked like you’d spend all your time writing documents and no time programming. (This was often the case.) I hope that what I’ve shown you here suggests a middle path—a sliding scale. Use an approach that fits your needs (and your personality). No matter how minimal you choose to make it, some kind of plan will make a big improvement in your project, as opposed to no plan at all. Remember that, by most estimates, over 50 percent of projects fail (some estimates go up to 70 percent!).

By following a plan—preferably one that is simple and brief—and coming up with design structure before coding, you’ll discover that things fall together far more easily than if you dive in and start hacking. You’ll also realize a great deal of satisfaction. It’s my experience that coming up with an elegant solution is deeply satisfying at an entirely different level; it feels closer to art than technology. And elegance always pays off; it’s not a frivolous pursuit. Not only does it give you a program that’s easier to build and debug, but it’s also easier to understand and maintain, and that’s where the financial value lies.
Thinking in Java
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   Reproduced courtesy of Bruce Eckel, MindView, Inc. Design by Interspire