Monday, October 06, 2008

Keeping Things Small

From Martin Wisniowski's April 2008 Digital Tools interview, Justin Frankel on Winamp and the Reaper:

MW: "Also can you tell me something about beauty-of-code or light 'weightiness' of the technologies you developed? How important is it for you? Who is responsible? What is the design/aesthetics behind it?"

JF: "Well we try to keep things small, which has numerous benefits besides the obvious 'generally less bloat/ram use/disk thrashing':

Faster compile times, speeds up the development process
Easier to get updates posted
Easier for end-users to get updates

Obviously sometimes you have to do things to make things bigger, and that's OK, but to the extent that you can save size and/or complexity without really compromising functionality, why not?

Really it's just the attention to these details and the making compromises of with this in mind that gets you there. For example, we still use VC6 because the newer versions of MSVC can't dynamic link to the classic msvcrt.dll (which is on all systems Win95b+), so you either have to ship a big runtime or static link everything. This sounds hideously boring, but for an application like REAPER with many plug-ins included it's probably the difference between a 3MB installer and a 5MB installer."



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