Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Whence software

Is software development the crisis that Jaron Lanier and other industry luminaries bemoan? Sure, it'd be nice if it were a lot better, for example with standardized stable components, such as, by analogy, the equipment, tools and measures established early on in the homebuilding industry; also with alternative development and test methods, more team work, team skills and general education of developers. Better tools like verbally commanded software development interfaces will make development accessible to a wider audience and facilitate a much larger diversity of applications as well as innovative approaches.

So software design and development may be improving, but some suggest that burgeoning brute force method hardware may have a higher magnitude impact. Software inadequacies can be made up for with ever-cheaper massive hardware. Even within hardware there is more specialization and load shifting, memory continuing to take the brute force computation role as memory circuits outpace logic and will grow to comprise 70-80% of the transistors. Some even suggest that machines, cognizant or not, will take over software development in the not too distant future.

Great software development is still a key issue that many will contribute to resolving in the next twenty years.