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Interface Design

Objects are for people, not for computers. The point of objects is not to help computers run software, but to help people develop software. Computers are just as happy running assembly language programs as object-oriented programs. But people are happier writing object-oriented programs. OK, if not always happier, then hopefully at least more productive. The main aim of advances in software technology, from machine language to assembly to procedural languages to object-oriented languages, has been to help programmers do their jobs. In particular, objects help programmers manage complexity and change in their software.

Managing Complexity

Moore's law says that computer hardware doubles in capability and halves in price every 18 months. For programmers, this is good news and bad news. The good news is that programmers get ever more blazing machines to work with. The bad news is that as hardware becomes cheaper and more powerful, software becomes larger and more complex. One of the main ways objects assist programmers is in helping them manage the increasing complexity of software.

A well-designed object is understandable. Large software systems are difficult to understand. If a system is composed of individual object pieces, however, each object can embody an amount of complexity that can be fully grasped. Programmers can then understand the behavior of the system as a whole in terms of the behavior of its object pieces and the interactions between them.

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 No. 258
 Posted on 8 June, 2006
 
 
 
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