Fit and Finish are Everything

Final Arches

Seemingly superficial fit and finish issues are everything, and the giant foundation that enables those bits of polish is simply assumed to exist.

From James Hague on his blog programming in the twenty-first century:

A team of people spent thousands of hours building that app. There are tens or hundreds of thousands of lines of codes split across dozens of files. There’s low-level manipulation of cubic splines, a system for creating layers and optimizing redraw when there are dozens of them, a complex UI, importing and exporting of SVG and Adobe Illustrator and Postscript files, tricky algorithms for detecting which shape you’re clicking on, gradient and drop shadow rendering, text handling…and I’m only hitting some of the highlights.

Yet here I am dismissing it in a casual, offhand way because of how the coordinates of the selection rectangle are displayed. The fix involves two subtractions, a change to a format string, and a bit of testing. It’s trivial, especially in comparison to all the difficult, under-the-hood work to make the selection of objects possible in the first place, but it makes no difference, because I’ve moved on.

All that work, and yet by missing a few seemingly tiny details of critical importance to the app’s use, James discards it and looks for a better solution.

I’ve done this evaluation exercise more than a few times when using some new device or application. And I know you have too. It doesn’t matter how much time and energy are poured into some incredible feat of hardware or software engineering. If we don’t get the details right, then we’ve simply wasted our time, and our customers.

James says it succinctly.

Seemingly superficial fit and finish issues are everything, and the giant foundation that enables those bits of polish is simply assumed to exist.

Fox Tip: If we don’t have time to focus on the details, then we’re just wasting time.

photo credit: . SantiMB . via photopin cc

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