Monday, February 04, 2013

No solution for complexity

Neil Bartlett's blog of this title is shocking because it shows how slow to adopt proven technology the computing industry is.

David Parnas wrote his seminal paper "On the Criteria To Be Used in Decomposing Systems into Modules" (available here) in 1972. A large transaction processing monitor was modularised in the 1980's because the cost of servicing it was spiralling out of control. (Precise specifications were written for the new modules to clean up the interfaces and minimise dependencies on module internals, but that's another story.)

The OSGi module system for Java has been mature for at least five years, possibly longer depending on how you count it. Most of the major Java application servers are now constructed of OSGi modules and a number of them expose OSGi for applications to use. And yet we still see complaints such as the one Neil quotes. It seems application developers are stuck in their ways or stuck on systems which prevent them from using modularity.

Of course, modularity will eventually be adopted by all business critical software. There's really no rational alternative. But how long it will take is quite another matter.

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