Ward Cunningham

Ward Cunningham
A bearded man in his early sixties grinning while wearing eyeglasses and a fleece jacket
Cunningham in December 2011.
Born Howard G. Cunningham
(1949-05-26) May 26, 1949 (age 69)
Michigan City, Indiana, U.S.
Residence Portland, Oregon, U.S.
Alma mater Purdue University
Occupation Computer programmer
Years active 1984-present
Known for WikiWikiWeb, the first implementation of a wiki
Call-sign K9OX

Howard G. "Ward" Cunningham (born May 26, 1949)[1] is an American computer programmer who developed the first wiki. A pioneer in both design patterns and extreme programming, he started programming the software WikiWikiWeb in 1994 and installed it on the website of his software consultancy, Cunningham & Cunningham (commonly known by its domain name, c2.com), on March 25, 1995, as an add-on to the Portland Pattern Repository. He is one of the 17 original signatories of the Agile Manifesto.

He lives in Beaverton, Oregon, and is a programmer at New Relic.[2] Previously he was the Co-Creation Czar for CitizenGlobal.[3] He is Nike's first Code for a Better World Fellow.[4]

He has authored a book about wikis, titled The Wiki Way, and also invented Framework for Integrated Tests. He was a keynote speaker at the first three instances of the WikiSym conference series on wiki research and practice as well as a keynote speaker at the Wikimedia Developer Summit 2017.[5]

Personal history

Cunningham was born in Michigan City, Indiana.[6] He received his Bachelor's degree in interdisciplinary engineering (electrical engineering and computer science) and his master's degree in computer science from Purdue University, graduating in 1978.[7] He is a founder of Cunningham & Cunningham, Inc. He has also served as Director of R&D at Wyatt Software and as Principal Engineer in the Tektronix Computer Research Laboratory. He is founder of The Hillside Group and has served as program chair of the Pattern Languages of Programming conference which it sponsors. Cunningham was part of the Smalltalk community. From December 2003 until October 2005, he worked for Microsoft Corporation in the "Patterns & Practices" group. From October 2005 to May 2007, he held the position of Director of Committer Community Development at the Eclipse Foundation.

In May 2009, Cunningham joined AboutUs as its chief technology officer.[8][9] On March 24, 2011 The Oregonian reported that Cunningham had quietly departed AboutUs to join Venice Beach-based CitizenGlobal, a startup working on crowd-sourced video content, as their chief technology officer. He remains "an adviser" with AboutUs.[10][11]

As of 2014, Cunningham resides in Portland, Oregon.[12]

Cunningham holds an Amateur Radio Extra Class license issued by the Federal Communications Commission, and his call sign is Kilo Nine Oscar X-ray, K9OX.[13][14][15][16]

Ideas and inventions

Ward Cunningham looking back on his work, May 2014

Cunningham is well known for a few widely disseminated ideas which he originated and developed. The most famous among these are the wiki and many ideas in the field of software design patterns, made popular by the Gang of Four (GoF). He owns the company Cunningham & Cunningham Inc., a consultancy that has specialized in object-oriented programming. He also created the site (and software) WikiWikiWeb, the first internet wiki.

When asked in a 2006 interview with internetnews.com whether he considered patenting the wiki concept, he explained that he thought the idea "just sounded like something that no one would want to pay money for."[17]

Cunningham is interested in tracking the number and location of wiki page edits as a sociological experiment and may even consider the degradation of a wiki page as part of its process to stability. "There are those who give and those who take. You can tell by reading what they write."[18]

In 2011, Cunningham created Smallest Federated Wiki, a tool for wiki federation, which applies aspects of software development such as forking to wiki pages.

Patterns and extreme programming

Ward Cunningham has contributed to the practice of object-oriented programming, in particular the use of pattern languages and (with Kent Beck) the class-responsibility-collaboration cards. He also contributes to the extreme programming software development methodology. Much of this work was done collaboratively on the first wiki site.

Cunningham's Law

Ward is credited with the idea: "The best way to get the right answer on the Internet is not to ask a question, it's to post the wrong answer."[19] This refers to the observation that people are quicker to correct a wrong answer than to answer a question.

According to Steven McGeady, Cunningham advised him in the early 1980s, "The best way to get the right answer on the Internet is not to ask a question, it's to post the wrong answer." McGeady dubbed this Cunningham's law.[20] Although originally referring to interactions on Usenet, the law has been used to describe how other online communities work, such as Wikipedia.[21]

Cunningham himself denies ownership of the law, calling it a "misquote that disproves itself by propagating through the internet"[22]

See also


  1. ^ Harry Henderson (2009). Encyclopedia of Computer Science and Technology. Facts On File. p. 122. ISBN 978-0-8160-6382-6. 
  2. ^ "Ward Cunningham Joins the New Relic Family". New Relic Blog. Retrieved . 
  3. ^ "Our Proven Leadership Team". Citizen Global Website. Archived from the original on May 12, 2012. Retrieved . 
  4. ^ "Nike Materials Index: Open Data Hackathon". San Francisco Chronicle. August 6, 2009. Archived from the original on October 7, 2011. Retrieved . 
  5. ^ "Wikimedia Developer Summit 2017 Program". Retrieved 2017. 
  6. ^ "Ward's Home Page". Retrieved 2016. 
  7. ^ The defaultlogic.com resource Revolution - Andrew Lih, page 46
  8. ^ Bishop, Todd. (January 26, 2004) Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Microsoft Notebook: Wiki pioneer planted the seed and watched it grow. Section: Business; Page D1.
  9. ^ Rogoway, Mike (May 18, 2007). "Inventor of the wiki has a new job in Portland". The Oregonian business blog. 
  10. ^ Rogoway, Mike (March 24, 2011). "Ward Cunningham, inventor of the wiki, has a new job in SoCal". The Oregonian business blog. 
  11. ^ "Ward Cunningham Joins CitizenGlobal". Blog.ratedstar.com. March 31, 2011. Archived from the original on October 16, 2015. 
  12. ^ Flickr: 2comc Retrieved 2014-11-10.
  13. ^ Federal, Communications Commission. "K9OX". United States Government. Retrieved 2016. 
  14. ^ Federal, Communications Commission. "Ward Cunningham". United States Government. Retrieved 2016. 
  15. ^ Federal, Communications Commission. "K9OX, Expired". United States Government. Retrieved 2016. 
  16. ^ TenTec, Wiki. "Ward Cunningham". Ten Tec Wiki. Retrieved 2016. 
  17. ^ Kerner, Sean Michael (December 8, 2006), Q&A with Ward Cunningham, internetnews.com, archived from the original on October 6, 2012 
  18. ^ CubeSpace, Portland Oregon (December 7, 2008). "Ward Cunningham, Lecture". Cyborg Camp Live Stream - Mogulus Live Broadcast. Archived from the original on February 7, 2009. 
  19. ^ "Jurisimprudence". Schott's Vocab Blog. Retrieved . 
  20. ^ McGeady, Steven (May 28, 2010). "Cunningham's Law". Schott's Vocab. New York Times. Comment No. 119. Retrieved 2012. n.b. named after Ward Cunningham, a colleague of mine at Tektronix. This was his advice to me in the early 1980s with reference to what was later dubbed USENET, but since generalized to the Web and the Internet as a whole. Ward is now famous as the inventor of the Wiki. Ironically, defaultlogic.com resource is now perhaps the most widely-known proof of Cunningham's Law. 
  21. ^ Friedman, Nancy (May 31, 2010). "Word of the Week: Cunningham's Law". Retrieved 2012. 
  22. ^ Cunningham (2015-10-18), NOT CUNNINGHAM'S LAW, retrieved  

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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