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A Stone Cold Money Loser

October 31, 2012 4 comments

A widespread and unquestioned assumption deeply entrenched within the software industry is:

For large, long-lived, computationally-dense, high-performance systems, this attitude is a stone cold money loser. When the original cast of players has been long departed, and with hundreds of thousands (perhaps millions) of lines of code to scour, how cost-effective and time-effective do you think it is to hurl a bunch of overpaid programmers and domain analysts at a logical or numerical bug nestled deeply within your golden goose. What about an infrastructure latency bug? A throughput bug? A fault-intolerance bug? A timing bug?

Everybody knows the answer, but no one, from the penthouse down to the boiler room wants to do anything about it:

To lessen the pain, note that to be “kind” (shhh! Don’t tell anyone) BD00 used the less offensive “artifacts” word – not the hated “D” word. And no, I don’t mean huge piles of detailed, out-of-synch, paper that would torch your state if ignited. And no, I don’t mean sophisticated-looking, semantic-less garbage spit out by domain-agnostic tools “after” the code is written.

Wah, wah, wah:

  • But it’s impossible to keep the artifacts in synch with the code” – No, it’s not.
  • But no one reads artifacts” – Then make the artifacts readable.
  • But no one knows how to write good artifacts” – Then teach them.
  • But no one wants to write artifacts” – So, what’s your point? This is a business, not a vacation resort.

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