In software, contrary to common belief, lines of code are a liability not an asset. As you gradually accumulate code, little by little the pain sets in. The complexity increases. It gets harder to understand. And eventually, quality suffers.
Dependencies only exacerbate this problem. With each dependency you add, you pull in more code, more APIs to learn and more potential bugs.
Transitive dependencies take this problem to 11. You now have the possible issue of conflicting dependencies! And before you know it ... you have landed in JAR Hell! So much for laughing at our Windows friends stuck in DLL Hell...
And yet, dependencies are a necessary evil. If you want to avoid reinventing the wheel or if you want to integrate with the outside world, there very often is no way to avoid them. In the spirit of doing the simplest thing that could possibly work, strive to reduce the number of dependencies to the absolute minimum required. Every single dependency you add should be weighed carefully: does the functional benefit outweigh the complexity cost?
News: Optional Dependency Strategies for Java Libraries
- Posted by: Axel Fontaine
- Posted on: August 06 2012 06:29 EDT