The true curse of bloatware? Maintainability!
When reading a Joel Spolsky column, I’m always prepared to be enlightened and entertained. Well his newest is certainly entertaining, but I kept waiting for the explanation of why Excel is 146MB on disk, and he never got there (except to say they ship before optimizing for disk space). Yeah disk space is cheaper and cheaper, but I bet there was a lot of sloppy engineering, the copy/paste kind of thing, instead of layering the functionality. This is why Netscape got into so much trouble, at one point they had four HTML parsers in their browser, and that’s the core of what they do. How you organize the code internally matters as Mr. XXX of YYY explained ZZZ weeks ago. (Can’t say who that is, obviously.) His OS proved difficult to debug because they copy/pasted so much code that security holes could be fixed in one place and then the exact same hole would show up in other places months later. Now I’m not saying that UserLand is saint-like, but there’s reason why our software is the size of a modest MP3 and Microsoft’s is er well, larger. Believe it or not users depend on the maintainability of the code, why can’t Word write out decent XML so that other software can build on it? It could be they don’t want people to do that, or it could be that it’s a rat’s nest that no one understands and to try to walk the data structures any way other than the way they do it would break everything. I know Murphy very well and I’d bet on the second explanation more than the first. [Scripting News]