Sunday, November 4, 2007

How Much Ownership do Software Makers Take?

Cars have been recalled and corrected by the manufacturers, drug companies have paid through the nose, chemical companies have paid for their accidents, doctors get sued, airlines also pay when things go wrong. However software makers absolve themselves of any losses that may arise due the use of the software. This is very strange that there is no redressal for consumers who lose because of software.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Is the knowledge of software developers shallow?

In the earlier days, software was developed using only a single language, the language stayed stable for 4-5 years, generally used a procedural paradigm, the language did not have too many constructs, so it was possible to master the language in a reasonable time. Today with multi tier applications the number of languages is increasing, with new versions coming out in shorter time frames, a person probably has to know three to four languages to write an application. HTML, JavaScript, JSP, Java and SQL. Has the depth of software knowledge become deeper or shallower? Most people know the languages to a shallow level, their resumes contain 20 to 30 different languages tools platforms, in a period of a year or two, does it mean they have mastered them. I have yet to find doctors who are able to master a plethora of disciplines. I would shudder to go to a surgeon who is an eye surgeon + an ENT surgeon + a cardiac surgeon + neuro surgeon.
But we do not shudder to use software developed by a single person using multiple languages

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Programming Through Time

When I first started programming, the days of batch programming, I used punched cards as an input to the computer. The turn around time for a compile was 24 hours. Soon I moved to time sharing on a PDP 11 having 512 K memory, and a 40 MB disk the turn around time for a compile and link for a 3000 line COBOL program was around an hour. In those days I would draw a flow chart or HIPO diagram, or pseudo code then hand write the code, hand run them, enter them through the editor, print it out go through the printout to correct any entry errors and then compile, link and test it.
Computing speeds have grown be leaps and bound, my desktop is now much more powerful than what I had used in the past. A compile of a similar program would now take a few seconds.
Now I find that given program specifications programmers open the IDE and start coding the program.
Was I doing something wrong earlier by spend so much effort rather than wrting the program directly in the editor?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Reliable Software

Is software really reliable?