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The Lego Hypothesis: Software Building Blocks

Monday, July 4th, 2011

I’ve been aware for some years now of the “Lego Hypothesis”, a software engineering “dream” conceived by James Noble, Professor of Computer Science and Software Engineering at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand.

For decades, software engineering has “dreamed an impossible dream”, to build software as easily as building Lego houses, says James.

There’s a talk by James Noble on InfoQ about this subject. In this talk, James Noble imagines a world where the dream has been realized, where software parts can be found in worldwide repositories, where most software is built by reusing existing software, and where we’ve “finally been freed from the mundane necessity of programming”.

Of course, it’s a dream but, how close (or how far) are we from such dream? I, for one, have certainly been working in that direction with ABSE:

ABSE allows you to create the building blocks of your software systems that, though simple constraint mechanisms, allow you to build your software by snapping them together, just like Lego.

Developers suck at CSS design

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

At least that’s what Stefano Mazzocchi says (via Bob Walsh’s mISV Digest):

At the same time, I found the “960 Grid System, a kind of “CSS Framework” that lets you easily create a homogeneous design through columns. It’s also good for prototyping.

The 960 Grid System is free to use, and may be adapted to meet your specific needs. Several projects have already spun off, including versions that were built to be fluid and elastic.

Check out a tutorial of the 960 Grid System, written by Adam Hawkins.

You can easily create a grid system using an online tool, at The Grid System Generator where you can simulate some designs. The site itself was built upon the grid system and looks great!

It’s no match to a good designer, and to use this system you still need to apply some design work and some good taste, but for those that want a simple and good looking solution, I hope this helps.