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July 18, 2006 / jnolen

“Now with fifty fewer features!”

I was just reading the release notes for the new MovableType 3.3 and saw this:

Blog configuration now displays fifty fewer settings and controls without sacrificing any advanced options for power users.

I love that. I wish more software developers had the nerve to remove unnecessary features as their applications grew, rather than submitting to the endless spiral of accumulating cruft. Some argue that users would revolt if we spent our resources on removing and simplifying instead of on adding the totally simple feature that's been waiting two years to get done.

But it very well may be that ripping out a confusing, unnecessary or unused feature may result in the greater benefit to a greater number of users than implemented even the most requested new feature would bring. And it could result in even greater savings for your dev team: less code to understand, modify and test each time you do add a new feature.

But I'm proud of SixApart for a) actually doing it, and b) celebrating the fact that things have gotten better in their release notes. Good for them. Removing features can make it to the feature tour. I hope more people take their example.

UPDATE: See this post from Kathy Sierra for more support of this idea.

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