April 03, 2005

Situated Software

Shirky: Situated Software

Clay Shirky talks about some of his students avoiding what he's calling the "Web School" mentality. "Web School" mentality, from my impression, means paying too much attention to building a generic, all-purpose application which can withstand the extremes of being a live web application. He notes that his students are instead building web applications that work with and use the specific details of the community they live in. They tend to ignore problems like scaleability, because scaleability isn't necessary, owing to the size of their intended audience.

It's a very interesting piece. This problem resembles something I've encountered in programming as well as art: what is the absolute *least* you can do, and still accomplish what you're trying to do? Often we put more complexity than we have to. Ask a writer, and they'll tell you it's harder to write a good short story than a novel: you have to get to the point with a short story.

Before building something, ask yourself: what would you build, knowing all you had to do was please you and three other people who you knew?

Posted by Ted Stevko at April 3, 2005 12:04 AM