Dr. Dobb’s article on Green Threads

It had to happen eventually! An IBMer has gone out and written an article on green threads for Dr. Dobb’s!

The article does a decent job of describing what green threads are all about and if you have any interest whatsoever in how customer-driven scenarios can be used to drive product requirements and improvements, you should definitely read it and then ask questions. However, I am not sure I would describe green threads as a “project”… It is much more a way of looking at the usage scenarios involving our tools (alone or in combination). As such, it is much more a “program” than a “project. Granted, there is an effort to standardise on the basic infrastructure for green threads, but that is a herculean effort given the number of teams playing in this field and the diversity of applications and infrastructures involved!

In as far as the history is concerned, I will reveal that the “red thread” concept is one that was alive and well within pre-acquisition Rational. The “green” moniker was then used to put a more positive spin on things and to concentrate on the positive.

I especially liked the conclusion:

It’s not difficult to get people to agree that cross-product interactions are broken and to identify the root causes. It is far more challenging to find ways to introduce concrete change into the development process to improve the situation.

I do have a problem, however, with the author’s comparison of green thread and use cases in a side box at the end of the article. In my mind, green thread are most certainly business-level use cases: they should represent a process that a typical customer would follow to have some business value realised. His definition of use cases is too limited and limiting and do not reflect the spirit in which they were first established. I would recommend to anyone who have an interest in use cases read up independently on them, especially the works of Ivar Jacobson.