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May 5, 2006

Article: When Less Is More: User Interface Reusability, Part 1

With increasing pressure on software development teams to deliver more, better, faster, it is no wonder that finding ways to capitalize on reusability are more important today than ever before. We all need to do more with less and reuse is the panacea of doing more with less. Once the initial investment has been made, little or no effort must be consumed to use the work again.

While software development as an industry has focused on reuse through structured programming, object oriented programming, service oriented architecture, and several other techniques little thought or effort has been applied to the process of finding opportunities for reuse in the user interface. More often than not each application’s interface is seen as completely independent, having no need to be reused for any reason.

However, organizations of all sizes are finding needs to develop and reuse small components of applications in an effort to minimize costs, increase reliability, and allow for rapid changes to the platforms their technology lives on. This is why there is a need to create reusable user interface components. In this article, the first of two parts, we’ll explore why user interface reusability is important, how it’s been overlooked, and challenge you to develop a strategy for dealing with the need to make user interfaces reusable to reduce costs.

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