Making Frameworks Elegant: Avoiding the Simplistic or Complicated Trap

I define elegance as enhancing while simplifying.

These two have to go together. The result of enhancement without simplification is complicated. The result of simplification without enhancement is simplistic. In tour complex world both of these extremes are high risk approaches.

In the “enhance alone” approach we have people trying to follow something that tends to grow over time. But this inherently creates confusion. People also don’t usually have the time to learn all of the necessary intricacies. What happens is they proceed with a limited understanding and make up things as they go forward. This causes confusion and going back to old habits.

In the “let’s keep it simple” approach, people are forced to figure things out to fill in the gaps. This may work for early adopters, but is not so good for others. The result is again going back to old habits.

We often hear proponents of frameworks following one of these approaches exclaim that things would work if people would only use the framework. But that ignores the reality of how people adopt new ideas. Without clarity, old habits return.

While it is difficult to create an elegant approach, it can be done, and you should not accept less.

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