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What is a Big Ball Of Mud?

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Big ball of mud is a term for complex technology that lacks structure and design. As the term suggests, such technologies are messy with a haphazard architecture that is incomprehensible even to those who are most familiar with it.
In many cases, a big ball of mud is a legacy system that has been modified over hundreds or perhaps thousands of releases. Developer turnover often means that developers are unfamiliar with architecture and designs that might have been originally associated with the technology. Business pressures such as time to market and cost minimization are typically the drivers of poor design as developers are pushed to take shortcuts.
A big ball of mud is a type of design debt that represents a technology risk due to its potential to completely fail. Although a big ball of mud often results from a desire to minimize cost and time to market, the approach typically backfires as a haphazard design quickly becomes an expensive and slow platform for new development
Overview: Big Ball Of Mud
A complex technology that lacks a coherent structure and design.
Origin of Term
Brian Foote and Joseph Yoder, Big Ball of Mud, 1997
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