Shearing Layers


Shearing layers is a principle originally expressed for buildings: things that change at a different pace should be kept separate. Service like electrical wiring needs to be changed more often than the load-bearing structure, and load-bearing structure is expensive to change. If wiring is nested in the structure in such a way that changing a cable requires breaking a load-bearing wall, we end up with frequent expensive changes.

The same idea applies to software, as discussed by Brian Foote and Joseph Yoder in their essay Big Ball of Mud.

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