Data, context and interaction

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Data, context, and interaction (DCI) is a paradigm used in computer software to program systems of communicating objects. Its goals are:

  • To improve the readability of object-oriented code by giving system behavior first-class status;
  • To cleanly separate code for rapidly changing system behavior (what a system does) versus slowly changing domain knowledge (what a system is), instead of combining both in one class interface;
  • To help software developers reason about system-level state and behavior instead of only object state and behavior;
  • To support an object style of thinking that is close to programmers' mental models, rather than the class style of thinking that overshadowed object thinking early in the history of object-oriented programming languages.

The paradigm separates the domain model (data) from use cases (context) and Roles that objects play (interaction). DCI is complementary to model–view–controller (MVC). MVC as a pattern language is still used to separate the data and its processing from presentation.