by Asim Jalis
When I first started programming for a living I had this vision
that I would need to spend some time coding up useful libraries
for the first few years and then I could make a living just by
patching them together.
I was eager to invest the hard work for a short period because I
expected to reap a rich reward over a much longer period.
Unfortunately, this optimistic scenario has not played out as I
had expected. Invariably each project is different and reuse only
occurs for trivial components.
The only case where I see pervasive reuse is the Unix command
line. And so this makes me think that the reason I do not
experience as much reuse in my applications is because I somehow
violate some of the core principles of Unix design.
Instead of writing reusable applications that do one thing really
well, I write reusable libraries. I shun applications that create
multiple processes and string them together in pipes.
Also I decompose my problems incorrectly. I decompose them into
objects when I should be decomposing them into uni-functional
E.g. the GUI should not be a single object or a collection of
objects, but rather it should be an application.
According to Ward Cunningham, the solution to complexity is to
solve one problem at a time. By solving the problem of conserving
system resources (by using single processes) we unknowingly make
it much harder to solve other much more important problems, such
as code reuse and leverage.
Compare Troff and TeX with Word and Acrobat. Which pair do you
think will still be around in a couple of hundred years?