Many thanks to Hanzík for the Czech translations!

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moderately geeky  moderately geeky

Case 168

Horizontal, Vertical

When their respective apprentices had retired for the night,
masters Suku and Yaqqana spoke beside the fire-pit
in Yaqqana’s little monastery.

- - -

Yaqqana said: Let us compare the ways of our temples,
to see what we may learn from one another.

Suku replied: That is agreeable.


Yaqqana said: Our systems are built of many components,
each layered like the earth itself:
persistence is the stony foundation,
business logic the fertile soil,
presentation the fragrant blossoms
delighting the world-wide sky.

Suku replied: We do likewise.


Yaqqana said: Our designs are guided by three principles:
loose coupling between components,
strong cohesion within them,
and encapsulation always where developer meets developer.

Suku replied: We think likewise.


Yaqqana said: Our means to this end is self-evident:
each monk is assigned one component at a time,
coding its layers as he sees fit.

Suku replied: Here you and I part ways—for in our temple,
each monk is assigned one layer at a time,
yet codes across many different components.


Yaqqana said: Our way’s virtues are readily seen:
Each component is consistent throughout,
yet a black box to its neighbors left and right.

Suku replied: Our way’s virtues are likewise apparent:
Each layer is consistent throughout,
yet a black box to its neighbors above and below.


Yaqqana said: Your way would kill us by stagnation—
for so many must speak before code is written.

Suku replied: Your way would doom us by chaos—
for so much may be coded before anyone speaks.


Yaqqana said: When our temple was built,
it was on foundations of respect,
and mutual reliance,
and creativity,
and independence.
We trust even our middling monks to deliver code of quality,
and this I would not change for anything.

Suku replied: Nor would I ask you to.
Your temple is not our temple; your needs are not our needs.
Therefore let us agree upon one thing more,
which is to part amicably.


Thus did the two embrace in friendship,
and wish each other pleasant dreams.

- - -

But when Yaqqana had retired, and Suku was alone,
she whispered to the dying fire:

When your temple was built,
did masons cut the foundation stones?
and did carpenters hew the beams?
and did plumbers lay the pipes?
and did roofers set the tiles?
Or did a hundred middling laborers choose one room each,
and build it entire from earth to sky?