Sidney Bailin

Computer Scientist

 Rationale Capture

A theme of much of my software research has been the importance of capturing design rationale. Part of this stems from my frustration working with uncommented software; but also from my interest in the nature of thought.

In the software reuse community, I'm known as the "rationale capture" guy because I've argued that you can't have reuse without rationale capture. All engineering involves compromise. and there are rationales for the compromises we choose to make and those we choose not to make. How can you know whether it is appropriate to reuse something if you don't know the tradeoffs that went into it?

I have a vision in which programmers, and other engineers - in fact, any kind of knowledge worker - can speak a running commentary about what they are doing, as they do it, relieving them of the need to go back and document what they have done. Multi-media can play an exciting role in this, and I've come up with a way of doing it that is completely non-intrusive, a method that I have patented.

Both of these are closely related to my work on design stories, and to LIBRA.

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