"software" is ill-defined

greenspun.com : LUSENET : Joel on Software : One Thread

Joel's recent article about his opinion that "good software" is a ten year process misses entire markets. If he changed the generic "software" to mass market software intended for thousands of users (also known as enterprise level software?), then yes, software takes a decade and longer to write. Computer games, which have created reasons for purchasing super fast hardware (and video cards) are created and released in much less time, often in less than 2 years. Underlying code which skins are wrapped onto fits Joel's model, and his general term "software" is too broad to considered anything more than sloppy.

-- Anonymous, July 19, 2001


There are other articles where Joel has made an exception of games.. , or at least said that game programmers think of themselves as exceptions to the normal rules of software development (and by god, do they ever). But i think you're right in that it *IS* an over- generalization.. It may be more accurate to say that if you are writing software to be used by a large base (or even a large potential base), then yes, it will require 10 years, a lot of programmers, and a lot of revisions..


btw, i think this board should have a "preview" button, as well as a "submit" button (for typo's .. and whatnot)

-- Anonymous, July 19, 2001

Actually, I think that there are some good examples of game software that takes a period of years (maybe not exactly 10, but more than 5) to get really good. Look at the Doom/Quake engine's evolution from Wolfenstein to Quake III over a period of years. You could look at Doom and Quake as two separate products, but it makes more sense to look at them as two versions of the same product.

The SimCity engine is another good example, and one for which there were many versions marketed under the same name. Individual games come out much more frequently, but the evolutionary process of the core software does take years.

-- Anonymous, July 31, 2001

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