After all we are not building software for producing rockets.

The comment was said in the context of building web application. I think the person is trying to argue that given the limited resources and tight deadlines, you cannot be too idealistic about what goes under the hood (table layout instead of CSS, scattered SQL queries, spaghetti code etc2).

As long as you produce an application that meets the business goal on time and on budget, in web application context, that’s all what you need to do.

I can sympathize with this thinking having understand a little bit more about business, but I don’t see any reason why quality has to be compromised.

But come to think about it, we probably have a different idea about quality. What defines quality in web application? For me (being a developer) quality ideally should be measured on:

  1. Achieving its intended goal. This is where the person’s point of view is coming from.
  2. How does it achieve the goal. From developer point of view this means good and quality code, highly reusable, using best practices and it may incorporate cutting edge technologies.