Patterns, Wikis, and APIs

It's great to see Ward Cunningham's friendly face popping up on MSDN's Channel 9. In these segments, he connects the dots between the patterns that we increasingly use to guide software architecture, and the environments in which we formulate, discuss, and apply those patterns.

In the first clip, Ward recalls how the aboriginal Wiki was a place for programmers to work out, in collaboration, a set of ideas about how to do object-oriented programming. In the second clip, he notes that what gates programming productivity isn't syntax, but rather API/library/framework surface area. "Keeping up with what's available in the libraries," he says, "is the number one information overload challenge."

It's hard, maybe impossible, to master all the existing and emerging disciplines that flow together in modern programming work, but then, we shouldn't have to:

I wouldn't think to start a program from first principles. If I want to make a program, I want to find the people who know kind of how to do it, and say, come sit with me, come help me get started. Let's talk to each other about what we're doing, let me get the feel for how it's supposed to go. Once you have a program that's working, then it's just...improving it. [Channel 9: Ward Cunningham]

How and where do we have the conversation in which we merge our individual understandings? Patterns are ways to frame that conversation; Wikis and other online venues are places to have it.

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