With the release of the Chrome browser, I heard a number of people describe how fast the browser was, how lean and mean the browser was, and when compared to FireFox, FireFox was labeled as bloated. So far, it looks like WordPress 2.7 will contain a number of integrated plugins into the core leaving some to believe that WordPress is becoming bloated. Although I am not a software developer, this had me thinking on whether or not all software is doomed to become bloatware.
From the outside looking in, this is how I see software progress. First, you have an idea. You turn that idea into some code that at some point, is released to the public for testing. During the testing phase, you discover that the idea along with the execution flows really well with what a number of people want. Version 1.0 is released then 2.0, 3.0, etc. During the time of development, you take suggestions, feature requests, etc, and implement them into your software to satisfy more people. After three to five years, everything you have implemented into your idea has turned it into a giant mess because you implemented this and that in order to please people and their requests. So, what was once a lean mean piece of software that accomplished a specific task better than anything else has evolved into a useless hunk of junk that contains a ton of stuff you’ll never use but at least one other person just might.
This makes me wonder, what really makes software bloated? What does bloated software mean? Is it a means of perception? If you’re not using a group of features for a particular piece of software but yet, other people are, does that mean that piece of software is bloated to you? Also, if what I describe above is in any means accurate to the progression of software, why is it like that? Why can’t a great piece of software continue to be great without succumbing to the notion of being bloated? Is this just an endless vicious cycle?