Revisiting recursion

The other day, I wrote about the curse of recursion — the confusion and difficulty that can arise when, for example, you use examples of a software tool’s code to show the tool in action.

A play within a play is fine if you’re that glover’s son from Stratford; the rest of us do well to have examples that are distinctive without being identical to the software or concept they’re demonstrating.

I use NetVibes as my RSS aggregator. When I signed in today, I learned they’ve added a Facebook widget. This is a piece of code that allows you to add your Facebook page to your NetVibes page. That way, if you keep NetVibes open, you learn about any change to the Facebook page.

What I like is the example they use:

This one isn't recursive

Instead of using, say, the Facebook or NetVibes staff, they’ve got an engaging example of how the Facebook connection would look on your NetVibes page.

I’m not advocating Facebook (which I don’t use) or even NetVibes (which I do) — but a little original thought. The results can be magical.