YAGNI! You ain’t going to need it!
Now, someone might wonder why that stuck out to me? Well, it’s because of I often tend to have the thoughts to ‘future proof’ things! And, this is in direct contrast with YAGNI. Not only do I try to future proof things in coding, but I tend to do in in a variety of different fields.
Building a new computer? Let’s shell out a few extra dollars to make sure I can upgrade my storage in the future.
Making a new base in Minecraft? I’ll clear out this space so I have room to expand!
Buying groceries? Let’s just pick up this ingredient in case I might need it!
When has that helped me? Well, actually pretty often! But… In the grand scheme of things, the ratio is probably quite small. If I had to put a number to it, I’d say… It’s probably…
Potentially even less! So why the heck am I still stuck with this idea of future proofing! No idea! But anyways, to get back on topic, YAGNI seemed useful in not just my coding, but everywhere, so I started to look more into it! In my search for a grander understanding, I discovered this post by Martin Fowler. And boy, oh boy, did Martin teach me a lot of things!
Firstly, it makes sense! The concept of future proofing, or preparing for something that you will eventually need seems sound, right? But, things change! Especially when it comes to specifications and needs. Things might seem set in stone one day, but in the next, something might have changed and the requirements become different! Any and all investment and work you put into that ‘feature’ will be wasted, so don’t think about it until you need it!
In my own cases, I can definitely say if I just had a more YAGNI approach, I’d save myself countless hours and at least a small pile of money! Plans are plans are a reason! Just because I think I’ll want it later, doesn’t mean I’ll actually want it when the time comes!
That computer I future proofed? Never did it!
That space I cleared out for an expansion in Minecraft? Never expanded it!
That one ingredient I picked up? Never used it!
These have just been my experiences, but I am certain that at least some people can understand where I’m coming from. It really does seem to make sense to prepare for the future, right? But if you’re really preparing for the future, you better make sure you absolutely are going to use it! This is certainly a lot easier for real life things, but when it comes to coding and meeting specifications, that is just so much harder! You probably have about the same chance of looking into a crystal ball and reading your own future as you do thinking a feature will be needed! So…
Don’t do it! You ain’t going to need it!