the MIT-Stanford style of design

I discovered an article by Richard Gabriel today that describes a design trend that he calls “Worse is Better.” He contrasts this design trend with his own design philosophy: The MIT/Stanford style of design (a.k.a. “the right thing”).


The design must be simple, both in implementation and interface. It is more important for the interface to be simple than the implementation.


The design must be correct in all observable aspects. Incorrectness is simply not allowed.


The design must not be inconsistent. A design is allowed to be slightly less simple and less complete to avoid inconsistency. Consistency is as important as correctness.


The design must cover as many important situations as is practical. All reasonably expected cases must be covered. Simplicity is not allowed to overly reduce completeness.