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Christopher alexander’s 15 Properties of Life

20110622 (2011 June 22 Wednesday)

I have been thinking about how Christopher Alexander’s 15 Properties of Life ( The 15 properties are Christopher’s next step after patterns. ) relate to programming.

I have copied them out bellow, see the books [The Nature of order] for more detail.

I was thinking about how much various programming languages, coding style, libraries, operating systems, methodologies and even the programmes them selfs from the user’s point of view. Could this provide a semi-objective way to measure the goodness of these things.

At this time I am keeping this as an idea. I may post my thought on the comparison of some programming languages at a latter date.

  1. LEVELS OF SCALE is the way that a strong center is made stronger partly by smaller strong centers contained in it, and partly by its larger strong centers which contain it.
  2. STRONG CENTERS defines the way that a strong center requires a spatial field-like effect, created by other centers, as the primary source of its strength.
  3. BOUNDARIES is the way in which the field-like effect of a center is strengthened by the creation of a ring-like center, made of smaller centers which surround and intensify the first. The boundary also unites the center with the centers beyond it, thus strengthening it further.
  4. ALTERNATING REPETITION is the way in which centers are strengthened when they repeat, by the insertion of other centers between the repeating ones.
  5. POSITIVE SPACE is the way that a given center must draw its strength, in part, from the strength of other centers immediately adjacent to it in space.
  6. GOOD SHAPE is the way that the strength of a given center depends on its actual shape, and the way this effect requires that even the shape, its boundary, and the space around it are made up of strong centers.
  7. LOCAL SYMMETRIES is the way that the intensity of a given center is increased by the extent to which other smaller centers which it contains are themselves arranged in locally symmetrical groups.
  8. DEEP INTERLOCK AND AMBIGUITY is the way in which the intensity of a given center can be increased when it is attached to nearby strong centers, through a third set of strong centers that ambiguously belong to both.
  9. CONTRAST is the way that a center is strengthened by the sharpness of the distinction between its character and the character of surrounding centers.
  10. ROUGHNESS is the way that the field effect of a given center draws its strength, necessarily, from irregularities in the sizes, shapes, and arrangements of other nearby centers.
  11. GRADIENTS is the way a center is strengthened by a graded series of different-sized centers which then “point” to the new center and intensify its field effect.
  12. ECHOES is the way that the strength of a given center depends on similarities of angle and orientation and systems of centers forming characteristic angles thus forming larger centers, among the centers it contains.
  13. THE VOID is the way that the intensity of every center depends on the existence of a still place–an empty center–somewhere in its field.
  14. SIMPLICITY AND INNER CALM is the way the strength of a center depends on its simplicity–on the process of reducing the number of different centers which exist in it, while increasing the strength of these centers to make them weigh more.
  15. NON-SEPARATENESS is the way the life and strength of a center is merged smoothly-sometimes even indistinguishably–with the centers that form its surroundings.
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