My 2c about the SOLID debate

As you might know Jeff Atwood and Joel Spolsky, during one of their podcast at stackoverflow, argued against the SOLID principles (defining them “idiotic”) going as far as saying “quality does not matter that much”. This triggered a blog reaction from Uncle Bob himself, which then led to another podcast and well, you can keep up with the story yourself from this point.
Of course I’m no match for these giants: i’ve got neither right nor intention to criticize their points of view. Still, I couldn’t really understand: why are they (both sides) so mad at methodology?

Let me explain. It seems that just a little share of the so-called programmers can actually program. But there’s more : even among this elite the difference between the best and the worst are of orders of magnitude. And worse : you can’t really learn it.

So, what the hell? There’s a huge amount of software that needs to be written out there, who’s gonna do that? Just the elites from the elite? Wait, here’s the solution: Methodology! You don’t need the gift, just blindly and faithfully follow the Instructions and everything’s fine! What a breakthrough!

And I’m serious about that. I’ve seen that in action, it costs – a LOT – in terms of productivity but you can actually make people that have no clue about programming building quality software. Take a Methodology and enforce it brutally: there’s no “maybe i’m doing this my way” or “let’s just patch it up for the next release”. Everything must be done by the book. It works. And i think it’s not a bad thing, of course unless Jeff and Joel are right and quality really doesn’t matter : but i like to think that’s not true – even knowing that i’m probably wrong.


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