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The World Runs on Bad Software


The world is full of poorly structured, overly verbose, untested code. But, a lot of people are doing amazing things and making insane amounts of money from bad software. As someone who might call himself a “software architect” or “craftsman”, this is difficult reality for me to accept. This talk explores the balance between pragmatism and perfection.

Ruby, being as expressive and versatile as it is, makes it easy for newbies to write alien code that looks more like Java than anything resembling our beloved language, while those versed in "The Ruby Way" spend their days and nights obsessing over how to refactor ten lines of working code into three.

There is a cost to writing good software. It takes time to write automated tests, refactor code, and do things right. You may miss opportunities to get your software in front of real people, get essential feedback, or even launch at all.

I have seen and often written both abysmal software that makes me want to cry and glorious code that would make any mother proud; both were perfectly adequate for the task at hand.

Bad software that ships is better than good software that nobody uses. Learn how to strike a balance between pragmatism and perfection.


Brandon works at Ordered List, where he his passion for beautiful code is matched perfectly with his desire for testing and maintainability. His insatiable curiosity leads him to delve deep into understanding problems. He has created and maintains many open-source projects, and shares his endeavors at

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