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good write up. I'm not a fan of analogies between software and physical construction, mostly because they are often used by people who understand neither and consequently think all physical structures are perfect and software should be too. The author seems to have the right perspective though (or at least one I share).

Some interesting reading -- if a little dry -- on bridges that fall down and other engineering failures http://www.amazon.com/Engineer-Human-Failure-Successful-Desi...




I agree the analogy is not right. Firstly I disagree that the Art of Software Engineering has disappeared or gone down or lost. Yes it is continually morphing and yes it has its own problems. I have been involved in both 'construction' worlds for over 20 years and the analogy is misplaced.

'We need an AutoCAD like tool for designing software blueprints.'

No you don't. Autocad replaced manual drafting and took some of the drudgery of detailing out, but has made construction more 'inefficient'. The ease of change has actually slowed down construction. Project after project in fast growing areas such as the Middle East has been slowed down by 'design' problems. One hi-rise in Doha has actually tilted by over 300 mm and if a solution is not found it will be demolished (50 storey building). Most Construction Projects use Primavera for planning, one such Project that I am involved with has 22,000 activities. No-one is using it, due to its sheer volume and the actual plan itself is behind the reality on Site!

What Software Engineering and Construction need are better tools to manage teams (not tweet!), tools to manage complexity (not just to-do lists) and tools to manage re-usability and generation of some of the code. You can use Autocad to 'draw' out a building floor, produce a blue-print for an aircraft engine or draw out a cartoon. For me a computer language is my 'Software Engineering Tool'. The 'design methodology and other tools' reside in the computer that lives in my head!




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