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THE NEED FOR SOFTWARE ENGINEERING

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000131270D
Original Publication Date: 1978-Feb-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Nov-10
Document File: 23 page(s) / 78K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

Ware Myers: AUTHOR [+3]

Abstract

Early in this decade a set of programming practices began to appear that seemed to offer a way out of the software difficulties accompanying the development of large systems. These practices, developed by Brooks, Baker,2 Dijkstra,3 Mills,45 and others, included structured programming, top-down development, chief programmer teams, HIPO (hierarchy/ input-process-output) documentation, development support library, and structured walk-throughs. But despite the increasing amount of software development and its rising cost relative to the defense budget, corporation expenditures, and even the gross national product, the new programming techniques have not been adopted by acclamation. McClure,6 surveying the scene at COMPCON '76 Spring, saw ";the great masses of programmers conducting their business exactly as they did five years ago."; Nor was there the slightest sign in McClure's 5-year projection of ";strong winds of change."; His intuition was later supported by a survey of major Los Angeles area corporations,7 which concluded that, for all the fanfare, ";the techniques are simply not widely used."; Why are modern programming practices propagating so slowly? In the judgment of some seasoned observers, the reason lies in the complexity of the techniques and the difficulties management and programmers face in implementing them. As with modern management practices, modern programming practices are intangibles that have to be disseminated by ";soft"; means such as education and training. Fortunately, there are positive forces at work -- the Department of Defense, NASA, IBM, defense and space contractors, software houses, and universities. The professional societies cover the area in their conferences, tutorials, and journals. The General

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THIS DOCUMENT IS AN APPROXIMATE REPRESENTATION OF THE ORIGINAL.

This record contains textual material that is copyright ©; 1978 by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. All rights reserved. Contact the IEEE Computer Society http://www.computer.org/ (714-821-8380) for copies of the complete work that was the source of this textual material and for all use beyond that as a record from the SPI Database.

THE NEED FOR SOFTWARE ENGINEERING

Ware Myers

Contributing Editor

Introduction

Early in this decade a set of programming practices began to appear that seemed to offer a way out of the software difficulties accompanying the development of large systems. These practices, developed by Brooks, Baker,2 Dijkstra,3 Mills,45 and others, included structured programming, top-down development, chief programmer teams, HIPO (hierarchy/ input- process-output) documentation, development support library, and structured walk-throughs. But despite the increasing amount of software development and its rising cost relative to the defense budget, corporation expenditures, and even the gross national product, the new programming techniques have not been adopted by acclamation. McClure,6 surveying the scene at COMPCON '76 Spring, saw "the great masses of programmers conducting their business exactly as they did five years ago." Nor was there the slightest sign in McClure's 5- year projection of "strong winds of change." His intuition was later supported by a survey of major Los Angeles area corporations,7 which concluded that, for all the fanfare, "the techniques are simply not widely used."

Why are modern programming practices propagating so slowly? In the judgment of some seasoned observers, the reason lies in the complexity of the techniques and the difficulties management and programmers face in implementing them. As with modern management practices, modern programming practices are intangibles that have to be disseminated by "soft" means such as education and training.

Fortunately, there are positive forces at work -- the Department of Defense, NASA, IBM, defense and space contractors, software houses, and universities. The professional societies cover the area in their conferences, tutorials, and journals. The General

Accounting Office is studying the use and value of software development techniques. These influences, together with the growing realization that projected software development costs are becoming a greater factor than hardware costs in deciding to develop a system, are literally forcing progress to be made.

The software predicament

The general character of the software predicament can be seen clearly, although consistent numbers with which to characterize it more precisely are hard to come by. Because less expensive hardware is bringing more applications within economic reach, the amount of software to be developed is increasing. Also. because more software is already in existence, there is more of it to be maintain...