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Think from the User In
by Eric Armstrong
March 23, 2006
Summary
In his recent post, Bill Venners included a terrific quote from Ken Arnold. It crystallized my thinking on subjects as diverse as API design, interface design, and documentation (which many developers don't realize, is almost purely a design activity).

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In Bill Venner's post on URL management in Rails, Ken Arnold was quoted as saying:

(Many developers) think from the implementation out, instead of thinking from the user in.
That is pure gold. It nicely encapsulates a variety of issues I've noticed, including documentation, API design, and interface functionality.

To transform that wonderful observation into a golden rule, I'd say:

Think from the user in, rather than from the implementation out.
The impacts:

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About the Blogger

Eric Armstrong has been programming and writing professionally since before there were personal computers. His production experience includes artificial intelligence (AI) programs, system libraries, real-time programs, and business applications in a variety of languages. He works as a writer and software consultant in the San Francisco Bay Area. He wrote The JBuilder2 Bible and authored the Java/XML programming tutorial available at http://java.sun.com. Eric is also involved in efforts to design knowledge-based collaboration systems.

This weblog entry is Copyright © 2006 Eric Armstrong. All rights reserved.

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