Expensive Cheap Code

I was going to write a blog post about how to avoid a specific problem, until I realized that I should probably outline the problem first. I call this expensive cheap code, and I realize that the name is not a good name. It comes from buying the cheap version of something expensive.

When you buy something expensive, you do not want to get the cheap version. Because the cheap version will work, it just won’t work well. For example if you buy a big screen TV, but go for the cheap version, you may end up with a bad image quality that nags you every time that the colors are wrong. Or the image is stretched and you can’t unstretch without ruining all other channels. The right thing to do would be to get a new TV and get rid of the old one, but you don’t want to do that because even though it was the cheap model, it was still pretty expensive. And after all it only has small problems.

This is even more frustrating if you buy tools at the hardware shop. Since you probably don’t use your tools all that often, you will be frustrated for years with something that works, but doesn’t work well. And you don’t want to throw it away, because it works after all, and you don’t use it all that often.

Read the rest of this entry »