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Feedback: Software Development Paradigm Trap

Chris Gates - 8/9/2006

Hi Mark,

I have been writing s/w for the past 30 years (not all on one project ! {lol}), and I basically agree with you that a major paradigm shift is needed in authoring code. However the current state of affairs and where you propose to go is such a wide gulf, that I don't see how any one company could possibly take us there.

I was reflecting on your excellent article while I was starting work on a new project that required the use of the Microchip IDE tools. As I installed these tools and found that it overwrote my extension association for .MCP (previously assigned to Freescale's Codewarrior IDE), then the IDE came up and didn't know what resolution screen I was using, so it messed up the IDE interface with the dialogs mostly off the screen, and lastly required me to manually find and execute a batch file (hidden 6 nodes down the file folder tree) to build all the required libraries before properly building the project (this whole process took 3 hours just to be able to do an initial build!), it dawned on me that you are proposing the moon, and we are still "Earth bound," making cave paintings and stacking rocks on other rocks! There is just too much of a delta between current state and proposed state, so that no profit minded company would ever attempt to change it.

If there is no financial incentive (as apparently there isn't) for these tool manufacturers to make tools that even perform to the most basic of user expectations, then how can we possibly hope to move beyond this. The only possible solution I see to get us out of "our cave," is to create the tools ourselves! Mozilla style, groupware development on a grand scale. "Soup to nuts," start at requirements capture, configuration management, traceability, testing, source editing, build management, reusable libraries, documentation, etc. All of these and more should be mandated in the development process and be scalable to various processors. Even if such a groupware developed project failed, its inception might just challenge the commercial tool market (as some of the fine work being done in sourceforge has already done) to take the next few steps, but as I see it now, those folks have no incentive to move us outside the "cave."

Chris Gates
CEO, Illuminati Engineering Inc.

Mark Bereit - 8/10/2006


All I can say is, "Amen!"