In software development, Small Matter of Programming (SMOP) or Simple Matter of Programming is a phrase used to ironically indicate that a suggested feature or design change would in fact require a great deal of effort; it often implies that the person proposing the feature underestimates its cost. Such underestimated costs are common during cost estimation, particularly near the beginning of a project. The Jargon File describes an SMOP as:
- A piece of code, not yet written, whose anticipated length is significantly greater than its complexity. Used to refer to a program that could obviously be written, but is not worth the trouble. Also used ironically to imply that a difficult problem can be easily solved because a program can be written to do it; the irony is that it is very clear that writing such a program will be a great deal of work. “It's easy to enhance a FORTRAN compiler to compile COBOL as well; it's just a SMOP.”
- Often used ironically by the intended victim when a suggestion for a program is made which seems easy to the suggester, but is obviously (to the victim) a lot of work. Compare minor detail.
SMOP was among the "games" described in an article as paralleling the Games People Play identified by Dr. Eric Berne in the field of self-help psychology. The game essentially consists of proposing seemingly simple adjustments to a design, leading to unexpected consequences and delays.
Famous quotes containing the words small, matter and/or programming:
“These are the small townsmen of death,
A man and a woman, like two leaves
That keep clinging to a tree,
Before winter freezes and grows black....”
—Wallace Stevens (18791955)
“To the artist is sometimes granted a sudden, transient insight which serves in this matter for experience. A flash, and where previously the brain held a dead fact, the soul grasps a living truth! At moments we are all artists.”
—Arnold Bennett (18671931)
“If there is a price to pay for the privilege of spending the early years of child rearing in the drivers seat, it is our reluctance, our inability, to tolerate being demoted to the backseat. Spurred by our success in programming our children during the preschool years, we may find it difficult to forgo in later states the level of control that once afforded us so much satisfaction.”
—Melinda M. Marshall (20th century)