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The utility theory of coupling

Loosely Coupled weblog - on-demand web services

Phil Wainewright:

Heaven forbid, after all, that anyone should be able to link to Google's, or Amazon's, or any other provider's URI in ways that the system's designers hadn't originally thought of. That might lead to horror of horrors unintended consequences.

Fortunately, an increasing number of people are beginning to see that there are potential advantages in promoting transparency in URIs, in part prompted by Jon's experiments with his LibraryLookup project, as he describes in his column. He notes, too, that there is a perfectly viable means of ensuring clients continue to be supported when URIs change transformation: "An URL-rewriting engine could continue to support old-style links, but transform them to the new style."

Unintended consequences to one side, the thing is, scraping URLs is the antithesis of loose coupling. If that URL changes, you scraper is broken.

But maybe there's a principle at work here. The more useful something is, the more coupling it can withstand. Increased coupling is acceptable with increased utility.

It is time to bring down the walls that surround the citadel of software automation once and for all. Resistance is futile: the walls are coming down anyway. Technologists can either help dismantle them from within, or else helplessly watch as the rest of us tear them down from the outside. Which side are you on?


January 25, 2003 03:38 PM


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