"Everybody is doing it"
- At OOPLSA I've asked several people about their take on the current
state of the software, particularly how we got here. While talking to
Brian Marick I remember telling him that one of the main problems
stems from the fact that "everybody is doing it" (i.e., write
software). (Subsequently I contrasted this with what happens in the EE
neck of the woods and concluded that it's tricky to draw a parallel
between EE and CS; but that's a different story ;) Last week I had my
students read Alan Kay's Ealy History of Smalltalk and have ran into
something along the same lines. Here's the relevant fragment for the
enjoyment of the group (the article is available from ACM's DL; this
bit is on page 40, 2nd paragraph):
A twnetieth century problem is that technology has become too "easy."
When it was hard to do anything whether good or bad, enough time was
taken so that the result was usually good. Now we can make anything
almost trivially, especially in software, but most of the designs are
trivial as well. This in inverse vandalism: the making of things
because you can.