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Conway's Law [was: Point of Extensibility]

From: Michael(tm) Smith <mike@w3.org>
Date: Fri, 4 Apr 2008 09:29:50 +0900
To: Henri Sivonen <hsivonen@iki.fi>
Cc: Doug Schepers <schepers@w3.org>, public-html@w3.org
Message-ID: <20080404002948.GI26980@sideshowbarker>
Henri Sivonen <hsivonen@iki.fi>, 2008-04-03 23:30 +0300:

>  The Web platform already has Conway's Law written all over it, but we 
>  shouldn't make the situation worse by adding more syntactic sign posting 
>  between the parts created by different Working Groups. It's bad enough that 
>  to script the DOM you need to know which element (or, in the case of XLink, 
>  attribute!) came from which committee and use a different namespace URI 
>  accordingly.

Before seeing this mention of Conway's Law in your message, I got
to admit I don't remember ever hearing of it. But after reading
about it, it seems to me worth citing the actual wording here for
the record:

  Conway's Law states:
    - Organizations which design systems are constrained to
      produce designs which are copies of the communication
      structures of these organizations.
    - If you have four groups working on a compiler, you'll get a
      4-pass compiler.
  Or more concisely:
    - Any piece of software reflects the organizational structure
      that produced it.

Given some of the communications structures we're working with, I
guess the idea provides a lot of food for thought/amusement/worry.


Michael(tm) Smith

Received on Friday, 4 April 2008 00:30:30 UTC

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