David Weiss writes about getting the details right, doing your best, and crafting a beautiful polished product, even “on the inside” where no one will see it (via HMK)

Personally I think there is a fine line between art and craft. Creating a model airplane which is painted on the inside which is then boxed in where no one can see it, but you’ll know it’s there — that’s a work of art. It’s a beautiful, obsessive approach that I frequently see in artists, but I don’t believe belongs in crafting objects that are designed for people to use. That said, I agree with everything else in the article and it is filled with wonderful stories.

“You know when you start cutting corners, who knows where you’ll stop?”

Often the way things “look” on the inside affects how they work on the outside, especially for software. The customers never read the comments in your code. They don’t care if it is factored properly or follows consistent naming or tabbing conventions. However, if the code “looks good” (in other words, is readable), then its maintainable and as a consequence will have fewer bugs. Also, the creation of software is a social act. Like living in a group house, if there’s a sink full of dirty dishes, are you likely to wash your cup or just add it to the stack? In the midst of lovingly maintained code, most engineers will take extra care so their code will fit in, look good and work well.

Customers notice details. If all of the pixels are right and the behavior is consistent, when something unexpected happens, the customer will explore a bit and try to understand what is going on, rather than assuming it is broken and giving up.

What do you think?