New essay: How software is made – a tour of the sausage factory

I have a new essay site up, where I’ll post or link to anything I write that is longer than 256 words.  There’s an archive there of old essays that may still be worth reading, and there may a new one once in a while.  New posts will also be linked to from here, of course.

First new essay: How software is made – a tour of the sausage factor.

Did your computer ever crash on you?  That was my fault.  Not literally, of course.  You’re probably not a user of the software I’m working on.  But it was the fault of someone very much like me – another programmer.

When it happened, you may have thought: This always happens. Why can’t they get it right?  What kind of incompetent morons make software that doesn’t work?  Well, it’s incompetent morons like myself, and now I’m going to explain how we do it.  I want to explain it in a way that can be understood by non-programmers, or, as we programmers secretly refer to you: Those stupid users who crash our programs all the time.  I want you to understand what software development is actually all about, what the challenges are, why it’s a difficult and even downright ugly process. Because it’s different from what you probably imagine.

Read the rest here.

2 Responses to New essay: How software is made – a tour of the sausage factory

  1. Pingback: How software is made – a tour of the sausage factory « Essays by Bjørn Stærk

  2. Mark Brinton says:

    Great essay. It very much reminded me of a quote from a Dijkstra essay;
    “If during those discussions a stranger would have entered our room and would have listened to us for 15 minutes, he would have made the remark ‘I don’t believe that you know what you are talking about’. Our answer would have been ‘Yes, you are right; and that is exactly why we are talking, we are trying to discover about precisely what we should be talking.”

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