Followup on FOSD

I just came across this article and was shocked - even though I knew this is how most people view software development. Look especially at this quote:

On the other hand, you could encourage your students to have a more polished approach within the language, suggesting not to use primitive types, and to use methods instead of operators wherever it's possible.

Out goes performance and resource consumption... It is completely ignored. Irrelevant. Why? Because our computers are so powerful. So why worry about performance and resource usage if our code takes 100ms to execute instead of 10ms, or uses 64bytes of memory instead of 4bytes? It saddens me to say, but I think we have lost a great generation of software developers somewhere during the past decade.....

Future of Software Development?

Many times I find myself wondering about the future of the way we develop software currently. I guess if you ask different people their opinions you'll get just as many different views.

Back in the good old days we used to use punch cards to feed into the machine, from which the program is read and executed. Each time you want to execute a program, you have to load it using the punch cards again. Lateron came assembly language, where at least you could express yourself at the level of the CPU's opcodes, and save the programs for execution in an assembled, linked state called an executable application.

People used to build highly sophisticated systems using the archaic assembly language, under which operating systems, big parts of the original Windows NT kernel, etc. are examples.

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Automated Testing - When is enough enough?

One thing I am constantly fighting with while developing software systems, is the issue of when to do automated testing, and when not to. Some evangelists of automated testing procedures will try and convince you to always automate your testing.

I believe differently. Like everything in life, there should be a balance between using automated procedures and manual testing. Web based systems are growing at a very rapid pace, and this is a prime example of where a delicate balance is needed. Automating back end logic is much easier than automating front end logic (i.e. the GUI). This is simply because the user interface is not easily accessible using programmatic methods such as API's, services etc.

Most (clever) people adopted the coding style of separating business logic out of the UI, into a separate business layer. This eases automated testing dramatically, since now most of the functionality can be automated and only the thin UI layer needs to be tested manually.

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Microsoft Windows woes...

Ever got frustrated by virusses (virii??) and Windows? Well, I am subscribed to Bruce Scheider's Cryptogram and found this link which I think is a great read.

Lost generation....

I remember I used to work happily in Wordperfect 6.1 for Windows 3.1, back in the 90's. I had only 8MiB of RAM back then, so it took a few seconds to load. But once it was loaded, it was amazingly fast. Put it this way - I could never outtype the word processor.

Windows 3.1 booted in a few seconds on a high end PC. DOS booted even quicker - under a second. Yeah yeah I know - DOS and Windows 3.1 does not have true memory management, no pre-emptive multitasking, no networking subsystem etc. But then again those PC's were 486DX2-66 MHz machines with 2-8MiB of RAM...

Why am I ranting like this? Because I am frustrated seeing my G4 1GHz 17" PowerBook with 1GiB RAM run into 90% CPU utilization just because I have Microsoft Word 2004 on Mac OS X 10.3.4 open. In specific, I have one document open based on the new Notebook type document. For the rest - I am not touching the notebook. It is just sitting there chewing up 90% of my CPU - doing nothing. After some troubleshooting I found 70% of the problem. I have about 20 entries, each with one of those fancy aquafied icons (checkbox, exclamation mark and question mark) to indicate the kind of entry. That is why those icons are there for, isn't it???

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