[FoRK] Cunningham on API surface area and productivity

Contempt for Meatheads jbone at place.org
Fri May 21 12:01:11 PDT 2004


Noticed by Udell, on MSDN's Channel 9:  Ward Cunningham clips:

	http://www.microsoft.com/winme/0405/22606/Cunningham/Idea_for_Wiki.asx
	http://www.microsoft.com/winme/0405/22606/Cunningham/ 
Teach_a_Kid_Ward.asx

In the second clip, Ward's riffing on API "surface area" as a gating  
factor in programmer productivity.  That's part of the puzzle, sure.   
But the effect is combinatoric --- it's not just proportional to the  
inverse of the surface area, but to the inverse of the surface area  
squared.  IMHO, there's a nascent theory of program complexity and  
orchestral / compositional complexity that when everyone finally groks  
it (Hundredth Monkey, etc.) will fundamentally change the way we right  
software.  RESTful systems, the old UNIX gestalt, and the UNIX++  
gestalt of Plan 9 are all (roughly equivalent) existence proofs to the  
benefits of minimizing API surface area and state and maximizing the  
richness of the values that pass through them.

$0.02,

jb




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