Rebecca Wirfs-Brock and Object Oriented Design

Mar 11, 2015 by Alexandru Bolboaca in  Women In Tech

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The week to celebrate women in IT goes on with the woman who defined the Object Oriented Design – Rebecca Wirfs-Brock. Let’s bring upfront the stories of #famousITwomen who’ve made breakthrough contributions along the history. 

Object Oriented Design is about behaviors, not about entities and relations. We owe this idea to a woman: Rebecca Wirfs-Brock.

[Updated based on Rebecca’s feedback]

Early in her career, Rebecca Wirfs-Brock worked as a tester at Tektronix for graphics libraries. In those days, it was customary for testers to write just as much code as programmers in the form of automated tests. She decided to become a programmer because, despite the equally difficult work, testers were paid less than programmers. She became a principal engineer at Tektronix for Smalltalk, the language that inspired Java, Python and many others. This was a great opportunity for the industry, since she introduced the world to “Responsibility Driven Design”, the technique that influenced all modern design techniques such as TDD or BDD. Those of us who used UML owe her the idea of stereotypes. She now lives in Portland, and has been consulting enterprises on architecture and design for the past 30 years.

We were fortunate to have Rebecca a keynote speaker at I T.A.K.E. Unconference. You can watch her keynote below.



Hope Rebecca Wirfs-Brock’s story aroused your curiosity to learn from history more about IT famous women.

This week, stay tuned for the upcoming stories and win an invitation to I T.A.K.E. Unconference 2015. 

Rebecca Wirfs-Brock | #womenintech interview

Mar 23, 2017

Rebecca Wirfs-Brock is the object design pioneer who invented the set of design practices known as Responsibility-Driven Design (RDD), the first behavioral approach to object design. She is the lead author of two software design books and design columnist for IEEE Software. By accident, she started the x-Driven Design meme (TDD, DDD, BDD…). Although best known for software design, she is has a passion simply expressing complex requirements and effectively communicating software architecture. Rebecca joined #itakeunconf in 2013 as keynote, at the first edition of the unconference.

When sharing more about #womenintech, Rebecca is one of the most important role models ladies in the field mention or look up to. Read on to find her professional story and lessons learned along the way.

 

#1. What’s your professional story? Why did you choose to develop a career in this domain?

 

I went to university with no idea what I would major in. I liked both sciences and the humanities. I had a part time job at school grading tests. We’d scan the tests (which were marked in pencil) onto a tape, then take that tape to the computer center. They would run a job to print out students’ test results and grades.

I wanted to learn how that program worked. So for fun, I took my first computing class learning FORTRAN. And I was hooked. Writing programs was not only fun; programs could do something useful. So that is how I discovered programming—by accident. I liked solving problems by programming. I still do.

 

#2. Share with us an important lesson you’ve learned since you’ve been working in IT

I’ve learned that you won’t know if something is possible unless you try doing it. Sometimes we hold ourselves back because we don’t think we can do what seems like some seemingly impossible task. If you are a part of a team, you can do even more great things than you can on your own.

Being a software engineer at Tektronix (a company that made oscilloscopes and workstations, among other hardware products), I learned that with good team collaboration, the right management support, and the belief in what we were doing, we could do amazing things. I have taken this spirit of collaboration and can-do attitude with me throughout my career.

#3. What piece of advice would you give to the next generation of #womenintech?

Keep learning. The programming languages, tools, libraries, and database technologies you work with 10 years from now will be different from those you use today. There’s always something new to learn. Don’t just limit yourself to learning new programming languages and tools or the latest popular libraries. Take some time to learn things outside of your daily work. For example, I turn to blog by Adrian Colyer, The Morning Paper, https://blog.acolyer.org/. I find reading about technology trends and research stretches my brain. And then I get on with my daily work.

Take some time to learn things outside of your daily work. For example, I turn to blog by Adrian Colyer, The Morning Paper. I find reading about technology trends and research stretches my brain. And then I get on with my daily work.

But more importantly, take time to find, study, and learn about well-designed code and systems. Learn what makes one codebase more easily maintained than another, or what makes one easier to understand or test. Read others’ code. There’s a lot you can learn.

 

 

At I T.A.K.E Unconference, we aim to move the needle by offering to women in tech access to a fast-learning, practical & inspirational community for their growth. Join the 5th edition, 11-12 May, Bucharest and meet remarkable tech ladies.

The Pioneer of OOP: Barbara Liskov

Mar 10, 2015

The week to celebrate women in IT continues with Barbara Liskov’s story. Let’s bring upfront the stories of #famousITwomen who’ve made breakthrough contributions along the history. 

At the dawn of the software revolution, engineers were struggling. It wasn’t clear at that time how to organize code so that it was optimal, easy to understand and easy to change.

The solution proved to be finding the right abstractions. Barbara Liskov was an active participant in the conversation, publishing papers, implementing programming languages, database systems and operating systems. In one of these conversations, she came up with what is now known as the “Liskov Substitution Principle”, one of the 5 key principles of software design (the L from SOLID principles).

In 2004, Barbara Liskov won the highest award for computer science, the John von Neumann Medal for “fundamental contributions to programming languages, programming methodology, and distributed systems”. She also received the 2008 Turing Award for her work in the design of programming languages and software methodology that led to the development of object-oriented programming.

Watch the story of Object Oriented Programming in her keynote “The Power of Abstraction”, published by our partners from InfoQ.

Hope Barbara Liskov’s story aroused your curiosity to learn from history more about IT famous women.

This week, stay tuned for the upcoming stories and win an invitation to I T.A.K.E. Unconference 2015. 

World’s first computer programmer is a woman: Ada Lovelace

Mar 09, 2015

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The week to celebrate women in IT kicks off. Let’s bring upfront the stories of #famousITwomen who’ve made breakthrough contributions along the history. 

Did you know that the world’s first computer programmer is a woman? Ada Lovelace. Our first source of inspiration. She was an English mathematician and writer. Her best recognized work is on Charles Babbage’s early in 1842 mechanical general-purpose computer, the Analytical Engine. This was monumental in paving the way for the modern day computers.

Her notes on the Analytical Engine are considered the first algorithm ever used to implement on a computer. She also developed a vision on the capability of computers to go beyond mere calculating or number-crunching.

“The Analytical Engine, on the contrary, is not merely adapted for tabulating the results of one particular function and of no other, but for developing and tabulating any function whatever. In fact the engine may be described as being the material expression of any indefinite function of any degree of generality and complexity…”
– Lovelace, Ada. Notes upon L. F. Menabrea’s “Sketch of The Analytical Engine Invented by Charles Babbage”. 1842.
“One essential object is to choose that arrangement which shall tend to reduce to a minimum the time necessary for completing the calculation.”
– Lovelace, Ada. Notes upon L. F. Menabrea’s “Sketch of The Analytical Engine Invented by Charles Babbage”. 1842.

Hope Ada Lovelace’s story aroused your curiosity to learn from history more about IT famous women.

This week, stay tuned for the upcoming stories and win an invitation to I T.A.K.E. Unconference 2015. 

 

2 Comments

Rebecca

Actually, my very first job at Tektronix was as a tester for graphics libraries. By the time we were doing Smalltalk, I was a principal engineer and then later become the manager of the group that commercialized Smalltalk. But testing has always been part of my life. In fact, one good way to test Smalltalk code was to try to extend it… as the libraries were designed to be extended as well as used.

Alexandru Bolboaca

Hi Rebecca! Thanks for the clarification. We updated the article based on your comment.

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