I don't think any other kind of situation pops up more in a programmers day to day work than a Tradeoff. Tradeoffs are everywhere and being able to identify and access tradeoffs I think is one thing that makes a great developer.
Here are some places you might see tradeoffs:
- Performance Tuning - Any type of performance decision almost always involves tradeoffs. It wouldn't be tuning without some tradeoffs, else you could just press the Turbo button (remember those?).
- User Interface - There are tradeoffs involved in creating a great user interface as well. Deciding which features should be emphasized and which should be less subtle are key to creating a good interface.
- Database Design - Sure you could normalize every entity but it may take you a week to write SQL statements that join 12 tables. Likewise you don't want to waste space, and have performance issues if you don't normalize enough. You have to be able to find the sweet spot.
What tradeoffs do you face? And how do you make tradeoff decisions?
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On Tradeoffs was first published on November 09, 2007.