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I haven't read all the responses yet, by here's my take in general terms.
As devs, we sometimes encounter situations where competing priorities become evident.
Like when the ideal of simplicity, readability, and maintainability run counter to runtime efficiency.
I always bias my choices with empathy for the shmuck (fixer-person or enhancer-person) that comes later and must figure out what the I was trying to do.
Impossible-to-easily-parse code is a follow-on bug waiting to happen.
There is nothing more insidiously degrading to a codebase than cascading bugs due to ill-informed, shoot-from-the-hip changes because the code is too difficult to grok. And we all know it happens.
The kicker here is, unless it's message-loop-style code that runs continuously for the life of execution, it won't ever be an issue (AND, the compiler may even ultimately produce the same code.)
"I intend to live forever - so far, so good." Steven Wright
"I almost had a psychic girlfriend but she left me before we met." Also Steven Wright
"I'm addicted to placebos. I could quit, but it wouldn't matter." Steven Wright yet again.
Over the years, I've developed an attitude about this.
If I want others (including myself in a later incarnation) to stay away, PLEASE do not think this is easy by being ""readable"", I densify, (un)justly believing in more efficient code (from a compiler or machine viewpoint).
Intermediate stuff should be lighter, though.
"the debugger doesn't tell me anything because this code compiles just fine" - random QA comment
"Facebook is where you tell lies to your friends. Twitter is where you tell the truth to strangers." - chriselst
"I don't drink any more... then again, I don't drink any less." - Mike Mullikins uncle
Considering I left the house this morning without power, I suspect this to be the case right now since my neighbor kindly informed me that the power was back on. Good news is the fridge/freezer was already empty in advance of my vacation later this week.
We are sorry but all our agents are busy at the moment. Your call is totally unimportant as far as we are concerned, but we could play you some really annoying music if you like. Why not send us a postcard with your favourite tunes?