Thursday, April 22, 2004

Metaphors of software development 

via Bill de hÓra
Nonetheless, to me the city is not a good metaphor for software, and never has been. Writing software has not felt like designing and building a house. Using software is not like using a house - a program is not a habitat. Changing software is not like demolition (if it is, you're in trouble). I've built houses, I've built SOAs, and the processes have nothing much to do with each other as far as I can see. The problems in software are down to complexity, expediency in engineeering and duplication much more than insufficient architecture. We can call making and thinking about software systems building and architecture if we want, but that's as far as it goes. I like organic and growth metaphors over physical construction or industrial ones - they ring true to me.

And yes, my business title is Technical Architect. But lets be careful about aggrandizing ourselves with direct comparisons to Architects in other disciplines. We are not architects or engineers like those folks are - they have a richer deeper background to draw from. The likes of Marcus Vitruvius, Bruneschelli or Thomas Slade don't exist in software. But - it doesn't matter what your process, technical and architectural leanings are. At some point, if you want a system that will do useful work and grow with your needs, you will need to find competent people to write the code.

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