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Meet the Engineer QA on

Posted by hiheiss on August 25, 2006 at 11:54 AM PDT

Please check out my latest "Meet the Engineer" Q&A, Meet Tom Ball, Senior Staff Engineer at Sun Microsystems with blogger, Tom Ball, who works on Java language tools.

Tom goes way back: he joined the JDK team when the Java language was still called "Oak," created the first debugger API, and helped with the AWT for the 1.0 release.

He currently works on the Jackpot Project, a technology used for searching Java source code and safely and correctly transforming patterns in code, while writing minimal changes back to source. Jackpot’s "engine" is fully accessible, so it’s easy to write your own queries and refactorings.

His tip for writing code: "Write boring code whenever possible. Code that is so obvious it doesn't need comments and which other developers who thrive on cleverness will ignore and dismiss. Write code that only does one thing, but does it really well, so you can write it and forget about it while it quietly works in the background."

Is there anyone who "thrives on cleverness" who's ready to "dismiss" this idea? Is the best code, code that works quietly in the background or is it "clever" code that grabs your attention? Or is this the wrong way of approaching the topic? Any takers?

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