Bruce Eckel on Grass Farming

Update : (Hat-tip Folknology) Michael Pollan talk at TED

Update 2 : I wonder, actually, if “grass farming” could be the new “pattern languages”?

What I mean is, patterns gave us a new way of thinking about the architecture of large software systems, and in particular thinking about their dynamics.

It seems that if we take the idea of grass-farming seriously, we’re really talking about understanding the symbiotic relationships between species (and lets translate that to software-systems / agents) and finding ways to tune the interactions between them for improved performance (or resilience if that’s what we prefer).

It’s a bold but simple metaphor which I think inspires a lot of productive thinking. Perhaps not as rich as Alexander’s work, but still a powerful idea to muse on. And I can imagine people starting to document the various symbiotic interdependencies using patterns.

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  1. The key to Grass Farming seems to lie in the idea of timing – you need to give time and space for the system to grow and evolve, before jumping in with the next stage.

    This is similar to a lot of things I guess – whisky/beer-making comes to mind, where getting the timing of each stage is just right is crucial to the output. Or, hell, cooking is a fantastic example as well.

    Could one say the same of the development of communities? Software upgrades?

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