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baklava code

Contributor(s): Ivy Wigmore

Baklava code is programming that is unnecessarily complicated by the inclusion of too many abstraction layers.

The term is a reference to the flaky and extravagantly layered Middle-Eastern pastry and a variation on other programming slang included in the Pasta Theory of Programming, which likens programming models to the structures of pasta dishes. Spaghetti code, for example, refers to procedural programming, whose lack of structure can make it hard to follow or update. Lasagna code, on the other hand, is like structured programming, which is easier to follow but whose monolithic structure can make it difficult to modify. According to Raymond Tubey, who formulated the Pasta Theory, object-oriented programming (OOP), likened to ravioli, is the model to follow because it is made up of small, separate, and loosely coupled objects that can be individually modified without affecting the other components or the structure as a whole.

John D. Cook claims to have coined the term baklava code. Here's how he explains the analogy:

Baklava is a delicious pastry make with many paper-thin layers of phyllo dough. While thin layers are fine for a pastry, thin software layers don’t add much value, especially when you have many such layers piled on each other. Each layer has to be pushed onto your mental stack as you dive into the code. Furthermore, the layers of phyllo dough are permeable, allowing the honey to soak through. But software abstractions are best when they don’t leak. When you pile layer on top of layer in software, the layers are bound to leak.

This was last updated in April 2016

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