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Breaking away from the accepted path



Cormac McCarthy, author of No Country for Old Men, is a man that isn’t afraid to break away from the accepted structure of English language:

  • He doesn’t use quotation marks

  • He doesn’t tell you who is talking

  • Say goodbye to apostrophes

  • Occasional long sentences joined together by “and”

In a previous novel, when a Spanish-speaking character spoke, he didn’t translate to English.

His style makes the story of a drug deal gone bad in a remote desert location come alive. An author going through the motions might write long passages describing the scenery, the characters motives, their backgrounds, etc – but that doesn’t capture the confusion that would really occur in this situation.

It struck home to me when thinking about building software – sometimes we go through the motions when solving a problem. We don’t focus on the problem itself. It’s asking ourselves “How can I build this RESTfully?” before really thinking about the end-user’s interaction. Perfect technical execution of an inferior solution is worse than breaking a pattern to better solve a problem.



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