Largely on account of the fact that a sizable contingent of the developers I follow were discussing it, I recently had the pleasure of chatting with subtext‘s (screencast here) Jonathan Edwards. While the project – as Jonathan was very careful to note – is little more than an MIT research project, it’s also an example in my mind of simplicity taken to the next level. While I agree with Grady that application design and development will always be difficult, I’m not that far from agreeing with Edwards’ notion that “compared to every other field of design and engineering, programming is an embarrassment and a failure.” Why are things still so damn hard? Because they have to be, or because we’ve let them progress that way?
I’m not sure what will ultimately become of subtext, but Havoc seems to think one promising opportunity for it would be in the limited scope world of UI elements. Makes sense to me. Either way, I’m looking forward to seeing where Edwards – and potentially a larger group of contributors somewhere down the line – can take this.