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Simplicity and KISS principle

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Introduction

KISS is an acronym for "Keep it simple, stupid" as a design principle noted by the U.S. Navy in 1960.  The KISS principle states that most systems work best if they are kept simple rather than made complicated; therefore simplicity should be a key goal in design and unnecessary complexity should be avoided. The phrase has been associated with aircraft engineer Kelly Johnson (1910–1990).

If often cited in software engineering (see KISS Principle ). Bloat in software is caused by feature creep at every layer, not just programming layer or feature set layer. Complex software systems definitely can be build, but never can be fully comprehended.

There is a similar, but not equivalent, principle to Kiss known as Occam’s Razor (Bytes KISS Principle and Occam's Razor): “The simplest explanation is usually the best one.”  Just as there are a number of formulations of the Kiss Principle, so there have likewise been numerous formulations and reformulations of Occam’s Razor, including the following: "If you have two theories that both explain the observed facts, then you should use the simplest until more evidence comes along. The simplest explanation for some phenomenon is more likely to be accurate than more complicated explanations."

That is not to say that complexity should always be avoided as an explanation. The more complex explanation may actually be the correct one. However, where both a complex solution and a simple solution are possible and reasonable, the simpler one will usually be the correct one.

Although there is an overlap between the Kiss Principle and Occam’s Razor, they are not the same. The Kiss Principle says to aim for simplicity and avoid complexity; Occam’s Razor says that the simplest explanation is usually the correct one.

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The Last but not Least Technology is dominated by two types of people: those who understand what they do not manage and those who manage what they do not understand ~Archibald Putt. Ph.D


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Last modified: March, 12, 2019