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💡 Thought of the day: modular origami is a bit like a web project 🤔 part 2

December 12, 2021

Part 2: relationship between origami and the software industry

In a first article, I told you about my practice of modular origami applied to magnificent octagonal boxes.

Small reminder, the finished boxes are beautiful, here is an illustration:

finished boxes

I see several similarities between my practice of origami and the realization of a computer application.

More particularly the ability to produce a product within a defined time frame in a technological environment, without forgetting its artistic dimension.

Here are the themes that I was able to identify to illustrate my point:

  1. Rigor at every step, from understanding the diagram provided in free form, to the realization and all the associated controls.

  2. The time taken to finalize the choice of paper (step 1) until marketing (step 6): it varies depending on the nature of the product and the way it is going to be manufactured, we will speak of TTM in marketing.

  3. The scale relationship between practice: leisure / craft / industrialization (intrinsically linked to the volume to be produced in a given time and to all the constraints that we have). In our case study we remain in leisure, in fact the boxes are not sold and my production is less than 10 per year without a machine. However, there are still notions of know-how, division of labor and productivity to be taken into consideration even within the framework of leisure to obtain a finished object without giving up along the way. In IT, we could speak of expertise and continuous improvement, or even of craftmanship.

  4. Production constraints: cost / time / final product quality.

  5. The modular approach in our case, similar to a micro-service design in the software industry.

  6. Some of these boxes have variations or specializations (variations on a common pattern) that resemble a design pattern that developers are familiar with: inheritance. For those who know the world of e-commerce sites, we also use the term variations in product catalogs.

    variations of boxes

  7. The boxes can be used in their stripped versions (without lids). In an agile organizational model (often adopted in the software industry), we could speak of minimum valuable product or MVP.

  8. Some boxes in « degraded » mode are very usual (a rudimentary model, that is to say the square newspaper box) to measure its capacity to do can act as POC. In the work on which I am basing myself, there are models of boxes of increasing complexity of realization.

Here is a rudimentary square box model, this box opens like a vintage wallet:

simple box

  1. The production effort can be concentrated on a specific area - and forget another -: the finished boxes theoretically have a utilitarian function, an aesthetic and also an artistic function, no obligation however. In IT, we would speak of a maintainability / security / performance / resilience indicator.
  2. You will understand, there are many similarities…

Of course for the moment I am only talking about the practice of an individual leisure…

Next time: practical case, help I have ten boxes to make for Christmas.


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Words by Sylvain MARTIN an experienced developer living in Nantes in France. I am passionnate of innovation and WEB technologies. You should follow me on Twitter