Talk:History of software engineering

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Beyond Silver Bullet[edit]

24May06: This article was created in June 2004 by moving the History section from the article "Software Engineering" which contained the "No Silver Bullet" era. I believe the era should be more limited, since the expression is like saying, in business management, still "No Free Lunch" or, in world politics, an era of still "No World Peace" yet. I am contemplating "Goto Considered Harmful" for the 1970s, in emphasizing structured languages, and, for the 2000s, "Lightweight Methodologies" as the era titles. -Wikid77 21:32, 24 May 2006 (UTC)

Minor Edits[edit]

24May06: This section is for detailed notes about some minor edits. Not all minor edits are intended to be explained here. -Wikid77 21:32, 24 May 2006 (UTC)


I am a little skeptical about the assertion that Java, at least in that namesake and incarnation, was touted as a 'silver bullet' in 1989.

Agreed - Looking at the wikipedia entry for Java it says James Gosling initiated the Java language project in June 1991 and that Sun released the first public implementation as Java 1.0 in 1995. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:18, 27 May 2009 (UTC)

Major Developments[edit]

What's the deal with the "Role Of Men"? Was there actually something informative there, and was later vandalized, or does men being cameramen for "Girls Gone Wild" video ACUTALLY represent a breakthrough in software engineering in some intricate way?

Distracting clause[edit]

The text I've italicized in the following sentence (under "Information Superhighway") just seems out of place to me: "The rise of the Internet, based on pre-planned government-sponsored technology, led to...". It is somewhat off-topic and doesn't flow with the rest of the paragraph. I suspect it was put in there to emphasize the government's role in the creation of the Internet. This is not the article for that, so I'm removing it (see the old article in the history to see what I mean by it seeming out of place). Mbarbier (talk) 14:25, 26 November 2007 (UTC)

Worthwhile topic[edit]

The topic has some potential, but in its present form crosses the line on WP:OR. References would help greatly. Software engineering is an established academic concern, there would actually be a well-defined history in terms of the major ideas and seminal papers. The history is so much richer than eras and fads. MaxEnt 19:01, 3 December 2007 (UTC)

Agreed, very important, but the article reads to me as extremely naive. A thoughtful history ought to trace the essential concepts and underlying economics that have lead to current day practice -- dogma should be discussed in more objective terms as group deliberation and belief set formulation (this is not a science). What should the conceptual progression include? Here's my take: abstraction of logic circuit design into assembly language, development of Fortran by John Bacus, Von Neumann's conception of the operating system, the story of Kernigan and Richie's Unix and C, and the filtration of this into academic curricula. IBM's contribution to software engineering (software on the 360). The evolution of microcomputer software development. Grady Booch, Ada, and the defense industry's investment in methods for managing multi-developer projects. Xerox, Smalltalk, C++ and the object oriented "revolution". MIT and Lisp. Attempts to democratize software development with 4GL's and Visual Basic. The influence of prominent figures like Edsger Dijkstra, informational and reputational cascades, and group polarization.

Software development ought to be considered as an economic activity (most full time pratitioners are paid by private enterprise) that has only recently branched from state sponsored research (for defence applications and as a corner of applied math research). BrainRepair (talk) 11:53, 8 December 2007 (UTC)

Prominent people in the history of Software Engineering[edit]

I noticed the current prominent people in the history of Software Engineering are almost all developers of program languages. However I am under the impression that software engineering isn't about the development of program languages at all. It is about the development of new methodologies for the development and application of software systems. Development of program languages is an other subfield of computer science...!?

Even in the History of computing template Programming languages is an other chapter. So the solution seems simple here: just move that section to the History of programming languages article. -- Marcel Douwe Dekker (talk) 18:33, 17 October 2008 (UTC)

This list of "Prominent people in the history of Software Engineering" named:

An early history of software engineering by Robert L. Glass he named a number of other pioneers in the computing field:

I think it is not amazing, that these two lists have no one in common. -- Marcel Douwe Dekker (talk) 19:19, 17 October 2008 (UTC)

People could maybe be listed in a new list are:

-- Marcel Douwe Dekker (talk) 23:30, 17 October 2008 (UTC)

Role of women[edit]

Is someone saying that there used to be more women, because it wasn't manly or something to write the recipes? If so, it should be easy to identify the people making this claim. I'd also like to see their evidence.

I look at the names of programmers when I watch movies, play video games, etc. It seems subjectively to be a very male-dominated field in the last 3 or more decades. But subjective impressions aren't good enough. At lease, quote a reliable source who makes the assertion that more men than women are active in the field.

Likewise, I'm wondering whether it's discrimination or something else, like personal inclination, that keeps women from making an equal contribution in this field. Is it safe to even ask the question? I remember what happened to that university president who suggested that factors should not be imputed but actually studied. --Uncle Ed (talk) 21:09, 14 December 2009 (UTC)


"Edsger Dijkstra (1930-2002) developed the framework for proper programming."

What does that mean? Does "proper programming" have a specific meaning in this context? Can someone provide a link to this "framework" so I can follow it? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:56, 25 March 2010 (UTC)

Agreed, even wikipedia does not know what this is (it's not mentioned in Dijkstra's bio). Perhaps someone should remove this? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:01, 21 October 2011 (UTC)

Split into History of Software article?[edit]

At present, there is no History of software article which seems a bit of an omission. Obviously some of the material in this article would belong in it, so I wonder whether anyone else thinks it would make sense to create a History of Software article. pgr94 (talk) 14:26, 12 November 2010 (UTC)

I do, and I just did!--greenrd (talk) 14:17, 22 September 2013 (UTC)