Lecture 5: The Nature of Software Developmemt

Sw devs are creators. (In modern English, sw has democratized creativity.) They create amazing artifacts that relate to many people at many levels, especially colleagues and customers. This is not unlike writing books (and sw sys are the size of many books), song writers making songs, painters painting paintings.

All creators get criticized for the quality of their works. Authors, composers, painters get critiqued by critics and the general public. In the world of sw, there are two criticisms:

  • external, from users,

  • internal, from colleagues.

We ignore the first one; too many courses focus on this kind of criticism.

So what are the differences?

Sw devs get paid a lot. Artists get paid only if their work stands out and someone creates a market for it; this may happen after their death.

Sw devs’ creation lives on and is going to be used. It will get run even if critics rip it apart ... at least until someone says “discard it.” Lack of robustness will negatively affect users. Lack of comprehensibility will badly impact current and future colleagues. Artists simply go away in disappointment when critics tear down a musical performance, a painting exhibit, or a new novel. As for these pieces of art, they just disappear.