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Machiavellian Programming

Friday, February 1, 2002

Ugh.  Yet another person arguing that programming without thinking ahead is the way to go?  This is why so many companies are de facto slaves of their IT departments...

Paul Brinkley
Friday, February 1, 2002

Those that think that the discipline of software engineering can't be engineering because it isn't the application of physical laws have obviously never read Shannon, Nyquist, et al.  And probably wouldn't understand it if they had.

The propogation of information in a medium belongs to physics just as much as the propogation of electro-magnetic radiation.

Of course that doesn't mean that the majority of software development has much to do with engineering, just as garden sheds have little to do with the Millenium Bridge...

Simon Lucy
Friday, February 1, 2002

I also disagree with the rant you linked to..

It seems that it comes down to a matter of consequence - a developer that works on the code that runs the space shuttle would compare to one of the engineers that worked on the design of the Golden Gate, for example.

A developer that made an in-house tool to track who takes the msdn discs from the cabinet in COBOL would compare to the guy who used the odd tools and scraps he could find laying around to make a basement shelf to hold said scraps.  -And there's lots in between.

It also comes down to time.  When was the first thing built by humans?  When was the first piece of computer software built?

How about number of projects: How many physical items have humans constructed vs. software? For that matter, how many physical things are made in a day vs. software?

Some day (far in the future, I hope -or my pay may go down) the tools and techniques will be there to make software just like engineering.  Much as you go to home depot to get a dremel so that you can do some home project, you'll also stop by software depot to buy a tool that helps you reprogramm the software controlling your video system. 

Sure, this isn't around today, and people rant on and on about how software people aren't engineers.  But I think they are - it's just that we're still a bit early in the maturity of the field.

Philip Rieck
Sunday, February 3, 2002

There are some flaws in the logic.  The benefits of unit testing increase with the size of the project.  If the project took 2 years and 50 programmers then this would be a red flag that says you need to change you methods.

He does have some valid points.  With regards to language I have recently rediscovered BASIC ( ) and I'm surprised how quickly I can throw together code.  Of course, its only good for disposable code, but it really does do the job.

Ged Byrne
Monday, February 4, 2002

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