Evolution of Software Development

Per the discussion here and here.

A while ago I started reading a book about Mitch Kapor (a famous IT entrepreneur) and his attempt at making an open source alternative to MS Outlook. This ambitious project started out well, but ultimately failed due to a number of people and software issues.

However, to give the reader a better understanding of what software design was all about, the author had sections where he gave some insight into software development throughout history. Looking back, the main topic of concern was integration. In the past integration was about software with hardware and the headaches of having only certain programs being able to run on certain machines/processors. Finally engineers agreed to adopt some standards and the headaches were alleviated. Now software engineers and programmers are concerned with integration and communication between different software systems.

The internet and the power of community-driven development has created an even greater need for standardization. Developers and designers need to have a common language so they can easily share ideas. One of the pitfalls mentioned in the book was that the developers would argue about what type of data architecture they would use to store and retrieve information.

Since there are so many programming languages and other development tools available, making them work together to fulfill some business need is innovative in itself. So the two concepts (innovation and integration) are somewhat related in that sense.

One Response to “Evolution of Software Development”

  • With the level of community based development that the web has enabled, I have to agree that standardisation is needed, but we are now at the point where even those starting out can grab an API and begin working on something new.

    Question is, is it already too late to reign developers in with new standards?

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