Thursday, June 28, 2007

Design pattern standards

</Warning - old coder>One of my first programming jobs was writing code for proprietary hardware. I wrote most of the code after the "bootstrap", excluding a 3rd party 5K operating system (that's 5K memory, not dollars!). I wrote code to write each pixel on the screen, communicate with the keyboard and mouse, talk to server, etc.etc.</End - old coder>

It was a revolution for me when Apple and Microsoft came out with APIs to do this for you. It would be absurd to have a programer today write pixels, keyboard handlers, or operating systems. Yet why are programmers today working on writing code for mailing addresses, or work orders? Why is there no API?

Furthermore, its happening over and over again. How many programmers wrote or debugged code for address handling in the last year? The remedy to this would be a vendor or industry standard, but that's where it gets complicated.

While industry standards for communication (tcp/ip), data (XML), and the internet (HTML and http) have been hugely succesful, standards around commerce (credit cards, addresses, work orders, etc) have mainly failed. Seems we can't agree on scope.

While a single vendor (ie SAP) would solve the problem, most of us are not willing to give control away, both system and budget.

Maybe open source is the holy grail of design pattern standards. Who knows?

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