You look at a thing and you want to describe and understand it. There are many ways, but we can broadly define two principal ways.

Outside View Point (OVP):
Everything has external view to its environment. When a thing is described with less focus on its internals, that is OVP.

Inside View Point (IVP):
Everything is internally composed of other things. When a thing is described with more focus on its internals and less focus on its externals, that is IVP.

Also, internals of a thing are things too. So, internal things have their own IVP and OVP.
Here are some examples. Note that decision, if a statement is IVP or OVP, is subjective.
Following are my views on few statements as a layman car user, based on my intellect and knowledge.

A car has a red color: OVP
A car has an MPFI engine and is 4WD vehicle: IVP
A car has engine made with special aluminum alloy: IVP
A car is saleable thing: OVP
A car needs maintenance every 10000 kms: OVP
A car turns left when you turn steering wheel counter clockwise: OVP
A car needs proper suspension: IVP
A car must not jump too much during ride on normal road: OVP
A car has factory-installed locking differentials use a computer-controlled multi-plate clutch or viscous coupling unit to join the shafts: IVP

It is very important that IVP and OVP are understood enough to clearly describe a thing. How much details are enough for IVP or OVP is usually context sensitive. These two views are important because you can always use them fruitfully in some way. They are more important because our brains are programmed to use them.

Usually, we tend to use either IVP or OVP. Once we are biased about one, we become blind toward the other. Each thing is a unity in itself even if externally only few characteristics are manifested and internally it is made of multiple things. Being blind towards either IVP or OVP renders description of a thing incomplete.

Most of the times, thing to be described, is not trivial. So it is very normal to further partition within both IVP and OVP. It is normal to create team, with each person focusing on subset of such partitions. For big thing, there may be need for team of team of teams. Note that each partition has its own IVP and OVP.

IVP focuses more onto these: analysis, structure, architecture, design, utility, technicality, how & why
IVP usually have more amounts of details. To grasp IVP, you need good left brain.
OVP focuses more onto these: intuition, judgment, aesthetics, surface view, what & where
OVP usually have comparatively less amount of details. To grasp OVP, you need good right brain.

In nutshell, you need to know enough of IVP and OVP of a thing to ‘know’ it. That will be more complete knowledge!

PS: All these apply to software and its artifacts very well!
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Comments 4

  1. Apurva wrote:

    I disagree on OVP being less detailed unless you are trying define the Romantic view vs Classical view belonging to the Zen and the art of the Motorcycle maintenance. Actually OVP can never be fully understood in the following way. Imagine you come across a metal part of a space-shuttle. The part by itself can be analyzed in detail since its IVP is well-contained, but its use in a complex system like a space-shuttle is unimaginable unless you have some amount of IVP of a space-shuttle. Unless you defend that OVP of that part does not include the functioning of that part in a larger system, I can tell you that working in a chip industry, it is extremely difficult to restrict your view to a few OVP possibilities and prove that in real life/system, your little chip of few 10 million gates will just work fine!
    My two cents.

    Posted 04 May 2011 at 7:07 am
  2. Chetan wrote:

    OVP is not less detailed always. As I have stated ‘OVP usually have comparatively less amount of details.’ ‘usually’ is a key word here.

    Viewer needs to understand both IVP and OVP for gaining knowledge about entity in question. As I have stated ‘In nutshell, you need to know enough of IVP and OVP of a thing to ‘know’ it. That will be more complete knowledge!’.

    Also as stated ‘How much details are enough for IVP or OVP is usually context sensitive.’ You can find a context where OVP is very much detailed. I would further say that ‘how much details are necessary’ is decided by viewer. Good viewer will focus on relevant details from infinite details available for both IVP and OVP.

    Context in which viewer tries to gain knowledge is very important. If a piece of metal is taken as ‘piece of metal’ then it creates a context and viewer can gather IVP/OVP for this context. But if viewer takes same piece of metal as ‘part of space shuttle’ then it is different context and that will make viewer to have different IVP/OVP for same piece of metal.

    Posted 04 May 2011 at 3:23 pm
  3. Apurva wrote:

    Also, if you think about from a chip in a system perspective, OVP has nothing to do with intuition, aesthetics, surface view etc.
    Then you are really confining your view point of OVP. There are infinite possibilities in which a given entity could behave and that’s what makes the OVP critical for the success of technology by limiting not to intuition or judgement, but getting to know the outer world or system better. Which sometimes boils down to a tiny bit of information. You get that bit wrong and your chip is a dodo.

    Posted 04 May 2011 at 7:12 am
  4. Chetan wrote:

    It matters to viewer (and it is viewer’s prerogative) if OVP is taken as pure aesthetics (in non-system way) or systematic aesthetics or some combination of both. If viewer chooses ‘wrong’ details to focus on, then viewer will not have ‘proper’ knowledge about entity (and his/her chip will be dodo).

    It is purely up to context and viewer’s understanding of same that decides which details of which view (either IVP/OVP) or some combination are focused on. Viewer always has limited resources to do so and may fail to recognize ‘proper’ view. This is how one viewer gets more ‘proper’ knowledge than other viewer.

    If a poet tries to look at OVP of a chip, then his OVP will be very different from OVP of systems engineer. None of the OVP is right or wrong until context is agreed upon by both viewers.

    Posted 04 May 2011 at 3:30 pm

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