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Release It! by Michael T. Nygard

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Chapter 10Capacity Patterns

C.A.R. Hoare famously said, “Premature optimization is the root of all evil.” This has often been misused as an excuse for sloppy design. Hoare’s full quote said, “We should forget about small efficiencies, say about 97% of the time: premature optimization is the root of all evil.” His true warning was against chasing small gains at the expense of complexity and development time.

The problem is that optimization happens late, which often means “not at all” when schedules are tight. (When aren’t they tight?) Furthermore, optimization can increase the performance of individual routines by percentages, but it cannot lead you to fundamentally better designs. You would never optimize your way from a bubble-sort to a ...

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