creeping featurism

creeping featurism

(jargon)
/kree'ping fee'chr-izm/ (Or "feature creep") A systematic tendency to load more chrome and features onto systems at the expense of whatever elegance they may have possessed when originally designed. "The main problem with BSD Unix has always been creeping featurism."

More generally, creeping featurism is the tendency for anything to become more complicated because people keep saying "Gee, it would be even better if it had this feature too". The result is usually a patchwork because it grew one ad-hoc step at a time, rather than being planned. Planning is a lot of work, but it's easy to add just one extra little feature to help someone, and then another, and another, .... When creeping featurism gets out of hand, it's like a cancer.

Usually this term is used to describe computer programs, but it could also be said of the federal government, the IRS 1040 form, and new cars. A similar phenomenon sometimes afflicts conscious redesigns; see second-system effect. See also creeping elegance.
This article is provided by FOLDOC - Free Online Dictionary of Computing (foldoc.org)
References in periodicals archive ?
CREEPING FEATURISM (AKA FEATURE CREEP): The tendency for programmers to add more and more features to a software product in an attempt to keep up with stiff competition from other companies, generally producing a slow, clunky program
CREEPING FEATURISM: Also known as "chroming" The tendency to load more bells and whistles on to a website at the expense of original design elegance.
Version 3.0 also suffers from the common ailment of all new software upgrades, that of "creeping featurism" or the addition of a large number of new icons, buttons, bars, and menus.
But Yahoo!--like other major search engines--is becoming a victim of creeping featurism.
The process of gradually adding features (and complexity) to a product is called creeping featurism.