Tuesday, September 13, 2005

PDC Precon Monday: The Pit of Success



As mentioned in my last post (here) I attended the Framework Design Guidelines PDC preconference talk on Monday.

One of the concepts that was discussed was the Pit of Success.

What is the Pit of Success?

The Pit of Success refers to the concept that using a framework or component correctly should be as easy as falling into a pit.
The Pit of Success: in stark contrast to a summit, a peak, or a journey across a desert to find victory though many trials and surprises, we want our customers to simply fall into winning practices by using our platform and frameworks. To the extent that we make it easy to get into trouble, we fail. -- Rico Mariani

That really resonates with me and is in line with a previous post of mine on how I believe a good design is like Top Spin.

Make the simple things simple and the hard things possible. -- Brad and Krzysztof

To sum up, the presentation, it involved 4 ideas:

1) The Power of Sameness - Expectations and habits have a big influence on how easy a framework can be to use.

2) Framework Design Matters - Developing a framework with a great API is different from prototyping and implementation and it requires a higher level look at the bigger picture. A well-designed framework must be simple.

3) Tools for Communication - A common vocabulary goes a long way. They likened using a framework to Archeology since Archeology is hard because: All we have is what they left us, we can't directly talk to anyone that built them, and its hard to find pieces of fragments that fit together. Yes, that does sound familiar :)

4) The Pit of Success - discussed above.

Writing reusable code, be it in a framework or class libraries does require more thought, more documentation (documentation is not enough!) and a unified, easy to use API. It's a different skill set that needs to be invested in and developed. If developed well, the benefits of reuse are magnified.

Great talk today, I highly recommend the book and if you have access to the PDC slides for this talk, I highly recommend looking them over.

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