The postal service illustrates good software interface design:

Senders only have to drop their message in any mailbox and can then walk away without a thought to whether the receiver moved or whether the message will be delivered by plane or by horseback.

Receivers only have to check their mailbox when they want to without a thought as to when the messages arrived, in what order, by what transportation method, by which delivery person, or from which point of origin.

@jaycie it's a bit UDP though - when the message doesn't arrive - well you know nothing.

@penguin42 True, though ultimately unavoidable. Even TCP is only an abstraction that helps us pretend that communication is inherently lossy.

@jaycie .... that isn't true. If the person sending a letter moved the is a good chance it won't arrive and you will never know.

@Canageek Which is still better than having to wait for days in front of the mail drop box, spent doing nothing else, until the post office tells you that they couldn't deliver it.

@jaycie True, but not good as email which responds if the message doesn't go through.

@Canageek If it doesn't get silently eaten by a spam filter. But it's a metaphor, anyway, that email also follows in many ways.

@jaycie yes, but as someone who has moved many times and had to worry about mail going to my old address, the notion that you don't have to worry about the recipient might have moved is dangerous and should not be propagated.

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