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Re: On Interfaces and APIs

by adrianh (Chancellor)
on Jun 05, 2006 at 13:34 UTC ( #553593=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to On Interfaces and APIs

This meditation reports the interface and API design references I've found useful and further presents some general interface design ideas and checklists in the hope that they may prove useful -- and that they might be improved upon by your insightful feedback.

For me the two greatest tools for interface/API design I've come across are Test Driven Development and Refactoring. Growing effective interfaces/APIs over time, rather than designing them all up front, is a stupidly useful technique.

API Design Checklist

Alan Shalloway and Ron Jeffries' list of features for a simple design is one that resonates for me:

  1. Runs all the tests.
  2. Contains no duplication.
  3. Expresses all the ideas you want to express.
  4. Minimizes classes and methods.
The three greatest experts in the human side of interface design that I'm aware of are: Donald Norman, Jakob Nielsen, Larry Wall

I know lots of people who would argue with Nielsen's place on that list - especially with the absence of Alan Cooper!

While Larry is a hugely talented programming language designer (in my opinion anyway :-) I'm not entirely convinced that this necessarily maps onto "human" interface design in general.

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