Much like the make people happy obstacle, we have the Swiss Army Knife Anti-Pattern. This mistake is another example of over-architecting a solution. Think of it as throwing everything into a design instead of thinking through what is needed. However, this approach is not gold-plating and bells and whistles. Instead, it adds things “just in case” they are required.
The Swiss Army Knife Anti-Pattern Defined
We often have pointed out patterns that break down and simplify a problem. The Swiss Army Knife Anti-Pattern is almost the opposite of that. Instead of breaking a problem into smaller parts, there are fewer, more complex components. That leads to complicated usage and often confusing results. Even worse, this anti-pattern creates side effects and magic numbers. Those last errors come from attempting to do too much in one place.
The Anti-Pattern In Action
Confusion is the word of the day with this anti-pattern. The users do not see a simple input and output or series of those in the architecture. Instead, there are large or monolithic components that have dizzying descriptions. Think of a database with a single table and several conditional fields or values. There is too much to absorb and keep track of. Again, the exact opposite of breaking down a problem into digestible chunks.