Re: "Pave The Cowpaths" Design Principle

On Sun, 13 May 2007 18:41:46 -0700, Dave Singer <> wrote:


> It used to be accepted wisdom that 'old roads were laid out by

> drunken cows'.  But sometimes there's more sense than appears.


> There is a university campus that has lawns between the buildings.

> At the end of the academic year they lift the stones that are the

> paths across those lawns, and let the grass re-grow, over the summer.

> A few weeks into the new academic year, they observe where the

> pattern of class transitions etc. is causing the grass to get worn,

> and they lay paths, using the stones, where people are walking.  That

> way they neither frustrate the groundsmen who try to keep grass

> growing where people walk, nor the users of the grounds, who are not

> troubled by "keep to the paths" or "keep off the grass" signs.


This is interesting, but seems like it would be a lot of work.  It seems that if you equate this as a metaphor to HTML, it would have to be re-written every so often to account for changes in common usage of the language.  This does not seem like a good idea to me.

I do like the spin you put on the "Pave the Cowpaths" principle, though.


James Cassell

Received on Monday, 14 May 2007 18:03:14 UTC