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Category Archive for 'software engineering'

In an article entitled ‘From Software Development to Software Assembly’ (currently accessible w/o login) in the most recent issue of IEEE Software, Harry Sneed and Chris Verhoef argue that increasing software maintenance costs combined with skill shortages mean that organisations have to move from original software development to much more extensive use of pre-packaged, off-the-shelf […]

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I’ve written this post from a Scottish perspective and specifically discuss the digital skills shortage in Scotland. However, I think that the problem is much wider, government responses everywhere are equally unimaginative and that innovative approaches to continuous adult education are required across the world. It is generally accepted that there is a worldwide shortage […]

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My blog post the other day about giving up on test-first development attracted a lot of attention, not least from ‘Uncle Bob’ Martin, an agile pioneer who wrote an entertaining riposte to my comments on his ‘Clean Code’ blog. He correctly made the point that my experience of TDD is limited and that some of the […]

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In my recent blog post on TDD, several people suggested  that some of the problems that I was having with TDD were that I may have a system with a tightly coupled UI and that I was trying to test through that UI.  They suggested that TDD is more effective when the UI is made as […]

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My last post on top-down development attracted a lot of attention from the Twittersphere and lots of comments. The vast majority of these were constructive, whether they agreed with me or not.  I am delighted that the post sparked such a response because we can only improve approaches through challenge and discussion.  It’s well worth […]

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Test-first or test-driven driven development (TDD) is an approach to software development where you write the tests before you write the program. You write a program to pass the test, extend the test or add further tests and then extend the functionality of the program to pass these tests. You build up a set of […]

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A pensioner learns Python

When I was younger, I thought of myself as a pretty good programmer. I started with Algol 60 in 1970 and since then have learned (and forgotten) lots of programming languages. But as my career developed and interests evolved, I spent more time managing people who programmed rather than programming myself and focusing on software […]

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I have just completed a HEFCE survey about accreditation of degree courses by the British Computer Society (BCS) that has the aim of soliciting opinion about whether accreditation of courses can be used to enhance graduate employability.  The details of the survey are unimportant but what is certainly not addressed in the survey is whether or […]

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In 1981, Peter Checkland, a systems engineer published a book that all software engineers should read. It’s called Systems Thinking, Systems Practice and it documents the fundamental basis of Checkland’s Soft Systems Methodology. All software engineers should read this book because, although it doesn’t mention software, it explains why software engineering is not like other […]

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I wrote the 1st edition of my book on software engineering at the beginning of the 1980s when there was no doubt what software engineering was about. The ideas underlying software engineering then came from military and aerospace systems. Large business systems were built using the same approach so there was no ambiguity about what […]

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