"You have to have something bad happen to you"

Steve Yegge on code’s worst enemy:

… This brings us to the second obviously-bad thing that can go wrong with code bases: copy and paste. It doesn’t take very long for programmers to learn this lesson the hard way. It’s not so much a rule you have to memorize as a scar you’re going to get whether you like it or not. Computers make copy-and-paste really easy, so every programmer falls into the trap once in a while. The lesson you eventually learn is that code always changes, always always always, and as soon as you have to change the same thing in N places, where N is more than 1, you’ll have earned your scar….

Code reuse is great, although some languages punish you for it: Coldfusion takes a performance hit on behalf of debug logging whenever it crosses a component boundary, even if debugging is turned off. And a lot of includes scattered across the place can make it difficult to track what’s going on (unless you use those very IDEs that Steve suggests treat code like heaps of dirt to be rearranged). I suppose ultimately it’s about developing an instinct for balancing short-term performance, ongoing maintainability and long-term scalability, and you only learn that by dint of many, many scars.