QCon 2007 Notes: Coplien on Design

James Coplien, From Design Practice to Code

  • Good interfaces should be habit-forming:
    • they shouldn’t change
    • they should follow the Principle of Least Surprise

So far so good. The rest of the talk felt rather more controversial, and I’m not sure I buy it, but it was certainly thought-provoking…

  • The “Direct Manipulation Metaphor”
    • GUIs shouldn’t feel like an interface between the user and the system
    • They should be a transparent layer allowing the user to reach in directly and change things.
  • Driving UIs from use cases is a very bad idea (JC was rather more emphatic): you need to get the model out of the users’ heads somehow.
  • Should model objects be what the system really does, or what the user thinks is going on?
    • JC suggests, at least partly, that they should be what the user thinks
      • The model represents the “user’s” view
      • Beyond that are the domain concerns that reflect what’s actually going on.

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