What Is Loose Coupling?
Loose coupling refers to the connection between components of a system or network, such as software applications or hardware. It's an approach in which components (or elements), although connected, aren't dependent on one another. These components interact to create a system or network, but should one component fail, it won't cause the entire system or network to fail.
Goal Of A Loosely Coupled System
Implementing a loosely coupled system helps to reduce the risk that's often inherent in systems or networks that depend on multiple components. Because the components, or elements, of a system or network are not dependent on one another, a domino effect won't occur if one of them experiences problems . Instead, when one component is changed, experiences issues, or fails, then the other components will continue to work at close to full capacity, preventing the system or network from becoming useless.
Why Is It Important For Your Project?
Loose coupling is important for a number of reasons. First of all, should one component fail, it won't cause your entire system or network to fail, rendering it useless. Also, any issues that occur in one component won't spread across multiple subcomponents. Loose coupling functions to stabilize your system or network in the face of environmental uncertainty. Your system will be much more likely to adapt to issues and change smoothly and at a measured pace. We’ll present a more detailed breakdown of how loose coupling can benefit your system or network:
Loose coupling allows your system or network to be more adaptable. The identity, uniqueness, and separateness of components that are loosely coupled allow for new solutions to be discovered. The more adaptable your system or network is, the more capable it will be of adjusting to environmental changes.
Loose coupling can promote efficiency within your system by allowing links between components to be broken or easily reconfigured at will. Loose coupling allows you to outsource certain activities while still keeping control and support of the modular functions integral to the system's core competencies. This can help improve the overall efficiency of your operations.
Loose couplings are more effective for knowledge sharing because they promote the creation of new ideas. Loose couplings will also prevent the problems associated with redundant (duplicate or unneeded) information common with tight couplings. Loose couplings allow for faster searches and transfers of relevant information as well, resulting in faster new product innovation. Loose couplings not only promote the creation of new ideas, but they also allow your system to implement those ideas.
Loose structures and incremental adaptation paths help to provide flexibility to a system. Such flexibility can mitigate task uncertainty and make it possible to respond quickly to local conditions. The system will be able to quickly sense even the most minor deviations and to execute corrective actions immediately. Loose couplings promote flexibility in a system by allowing a wide range of responses to unanticipated events.
What Is The Downside Of A System That Does Not Use Loose Coupling?
There are plenty of benefits to implementing a loose coupling system. But there also some lost benefits when not using loose coupling as well; for example:
Inability To Easily Add New Functionality
Tight coupling makes it much harder to add new functionality. With loose coupling, you can swap out components easily. This also makes your system more scalable as your system grows. Using loose coupling, you can safely write additional code when adding new features to your system without breaking the existing functionality.
Issues When Other Components Have Upgrades
Loose coupling is highly changeable, whereas tight coupling is not. This means that loose coupling makes it much easier to change or grow, meaning that you can update your components without fearing that doing so might cause changes or issues to other components. You'll also experience difficulty with testing when it comes to tight coupling.
Is It Possible To Alter An Existing System To Be Loosely Coupled?
Identifying whether your system is tightly coupled or loosely coupled is the first step--fortunately, there are several analysis tools that will do just that, such as FxCop and NDepend. These tools identify the dependencies within your system. If it turns out that your system is tightly coupled, you can decouple your code to alter your system to be loosely coupled. There are several ways that this can be achieved, including through the use of dependency injection frameworks, such as Ninject or StructureMap. As you can imagine, you're going to need coding experience and know-how to decouple a tightly coupled system.
Tight coupling certainly has a few benefits as well; for example, systems using tight coupling tend to provide better information flow and coordination. However, loose coupling provides much more flexibility, scalability, adaptability, efficiency, and room for innovation. This is because loose coupling helps reduce dependencies between components, thereby isolating the impact of change to any given component. This makes loose coupling the better option for most companies.
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