Rebecca Wirfs-Brock

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Career and influences

Rebecca Wirfs-Brock is an influential figure in the development of object-oriented design. She was strongly involved in the shift from an entity-relationship-based model to a behaviour-based design model; her particular version of this maturing as responsibility-driven design. Associated with this was the class-responsibility-collaborators approach formalised by Kent Beck and Ward Cunningham into CRC cards (under responsibility-driven-design, adapted to candidate-responsiblity-collaborators). Her books on object-oriented design are useful and influential texts, and she was also the design columnist of the journal IEEE Software for some years.

Wirfs-Brock started her software-engineering career at Tektronix. Techtronix (where Ward Cunningham and Kent Beck also worked) was one of the firms chosen to test and implement the first version of Smalltalk released outside Xerox PARC, with Wirfs-Brocks closely involved in some important Smalltalk projects. In 1991 she moved to Instantiations, a programming services firm subsequently acquired by Digitalk. Digitalk and Parc Place Systems (a spin-off from Xerox PARC founded by Adele Goldberg) were at that time the two vendors of Smalltalk environments and merged in 1995 to form ParcPlace-Digitalk. Wirfs-Brock left in 1997 to found Wirfs-Brock Associates, an object-oriented technology consulting firm.


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