Why "over-engineered" is NOT a dirty word

Inventory time is coming around, and this pilot fish is assigned to write a program to do a parts explosion.

"It would take items and explode them into parts for the inventory," says fish. "I was informed that the parts hierarchy would never be more than three levels deep.

"I thought about it for a while. I could have coded to just go three levels deep, but decided to do it right -- I coded a stack to allow for more than three levels, and arbitrarily made it 25 levels deep.

"The program worked well -- until they started comparing the output to a second program written by someone else. Sometimes the results matched, and sometimes not.

"Turns out my program was fine. The other programmer decided to hard code it for three levels deep. Well, some of the explosions actually went six or seven levels deep. None of the deeper explosions matched up."

Sharky loves a story with lots of explosions, but really, any true tale of IT life will do. Send yours to me at sharky@computerworld.com. You'll score a sharp Shark shirt if I use it. Add your comments below, and read some great old tales in the Sharkives.

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