Spit and Polish in Software Products

Most users of great software simply do not understand how much effort goes into creating a powerful and polished piece of software. I have now some firsthand experience with developing http://www.mymoneymanage.com. The actual core functionality for the full product was finished in less than 3 months with a couple of developers, but when we got feedback from users we realised how much spit and polish was required.

This post by Benjamin Pollack really brings out in detail what goes into building a good product. He uses the real world example of Stack Overflow to make his point. But it is amazing how most developers simply do not understand and account for the effort that goes into developing something with polish.

Money Quote

The next time you see an application you like, think very long and hard about all the user-oriented details that went into making it a pleasure to use, before decrying how you could trivially reimplement the entire damn thing in a weekend.

This brings me to all the hype around Google’s Chrome OS. It seems amazing to me that seasoned commentators are breathlessly going on about how it will change the world. Despite all the hype of Cloud computing and weekend hacking and Paul Graham’s promise of a new revolution, it’s still freaking hard to build a product.

The best quote so far is from FakeSteveJobs

Trying to make an OS out of Chrome is like saying you’re going to turn a Pontiac Aztek into a stretch limousine. I suppose it could be done, but why?

I think the definitive word on this is by Joel Spolsky Good Software Takes 10 years.


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