Ward Cunningham

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Ward Cunningham at Wikimania 2006.
Ward Cunningham at Wikimania 2006.

Howard G. "Ward" Cunningham (born May 26, 1949) is the American computer programmer who invented the 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.

Cunningham currently lives in Beaverton, Oregon.

Personal history

Howard G. "Ward" Cunningham received his bachelor's degree in interdisciplinary engineering (electrical engineering and computer science) and his master's degree in computer science from Purdue University. 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 Programs conference which it sponsors. Ward was part of the Smalltalk community. From December 2003 until October 2005 he worked for Microsoft Corporation in the "patterns & practices" group. As of October 2005, he is the Director of Committer Community Development at the Eclipse Foundation.

Ideas and inventions

Cunningham is well-known for a few widely disseminated ideas which he originated and developed. Among these, the most famous are the wiki (named after WikiWikiWeb), and many patterns in the field of software patterns, including the collection of patterns and practices that later became known as "Extreme Programming" or "XP."

Patterns and Extreme Programming

Cunningham is also well known for his contributions to the developing practice of object-oriented programming: in particular, the use of pattern languages, and CRC (Class-Responsibility-Collaboration) cards (with Kent Beck). He is also a significant contributor to Extreme Programming, a software development methodology. A great deal of this work was carried out in the first wiki site itself. His most famous quote is probably, "What's the simplest thing that could possibly work?" Or, it could be, "What's the simplest thing that would definitely work?" The underlying theme in both of these is SIMPLE.

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