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Discussion on: The hidden cost of “don’t reinvent the wheel”

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Kelly Brown

Excellent post.

It cracks me up that "don't reinvent the wheel" falls flat both in software and in life. Do advocates of this advice not realize that we are inventing wheels in real life all the time? Were we supposed to stop once we had a good wagon wheel? No! We need wheels that can handle F1 racing. We need wheels that work on Mars. We need wheels that can carry 18 tons. We need wheels that have no metal in them. We need wheels that work on ice. We need wheels that cost less. We need wheels for eeeeeeverythiiiiiiing.

And the analogy carries over to software. Take any library that does anything. Does it work in low resource scenarios? Does it favor performance or correctness? Does it favor API simplicity or maximum functionality? Does learning curve matter? Does it work at scale? What is the target audience? What is the upgrade cadence? Is the primary project OK with more dependencies? Does it work with all filesystems? Does it work in all operating systems?