Skip to content

The least code principle

{{< warning title="Axiomatic trade off quality" >}} This principle is both a trade off and axiomatic. {{< /warning >}}

Code (which includes specifications, documentation, comments, tests, configuration and regular code) is both an asset but also a liability.

Steve McConnell in his book, Code Complete argues that bugs appear in proportion to code, even going so far as to cite statistics from a study:

(a) Industry Average: "about 15 - 50 errors per 1000 lines of delivered
code." He further says this is usually representative of code that has some
level of structured programming behind it, but probably includes a mix of
coding techniques.

Going too far

Perl is an old language that used to be more popular, but it somewhat dated now. It was famous for its "one liners" which would compress a huge amount of complex functionality into a very small number of characters:


From Antipope.

Part of this was because of the semantics of the perl programming language, which allowed the ability to apply a command to different data types and do different things in context as well as commands which combined fetching data with mutation. These are both examples of increased language power.


There are a number of sub-principles which can be derived partly or wholly from this principle.