Quick Quote

Tagged as Programming, Quotes

Written on 2007-10-04 03:05:03

This is a really good essay on complexity in software appropriately entitled Why Software Is Hard.

(The difference is that the overruns on a physical construction project are bounded. You never get to the point where you have to hammer in a nail and discover that the nail will take an estimated six months of research and development, with a high level of uncertainty. But software is fractal in complexity. If you're doing top-down design, you produce a specification that stops at some level of granularity. And you always risk discovering, come implementation time, that the module or class that was the lowest level of your specification hides untold worlds of complexity that will take as much development effort as you'd budgeted for the rest of the project combined. The only way to avoid that is to have your design go all the way down to specifying individual lines of code, in which case you aren't designing at all, you're just programming.

Fred Brooks said it twenty years ago in "No Silver Bullet" better than I can today: "The complexity of software is an essential property, not an accidental one. Hence, descriptions of a software entity that abstract away its complexity often abstract away its essence.")

I also found an interesting opinion piece/writeup on Inheritance.

More later. It's sleepy time.
comments powered by Disqus

Unless otherwise credited all material Creative Commons License by Brit Butler