Duck typing

Bumped into a reference to “duck typing” today.  Its an old idea (predating its coining in 2000), but nice name – if something walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then shoot it and eat it for dinner!

While the issues refers to the use of type systems, it also goes to the heart of how much effort to put into organising information, and the benefits that come from it. Defining your structures in advance and forcing people to use them means that you can avoid errors. But this reduces flexibility and creativity and can make people focus on the structure and not the key goals of what you are trying to achieve.


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