Posted by: Spacehamster74 | 11/30/2009

There’s no such thing as a Silver Bullet

At work, we're currently in the midst of searching for a viable Development Platform that we can use to develop our applications.  At the moment we're using .NET 2.0. We've also looked at Ruby on Rails (no, really) and Grails (aka Groovy on Rails). Grails does rely heavily on convention, but it can do 70-80% of what we need. However, as one of my colleagues observed, when you ask Grails to do something unconventional, that's when things tends to go "off the rails" (pun intended).

At the behest of another of my colleagues (thanks Michael!), I've also been looking at PHP. I tried to learn PHP 5 years ago, but gave up out of frustration. 5 years on, and I think PHP has improved greatly. You can use it to design object classes, and interface with web services. Thus far, I would rate PHP as a viable alternative to .NET, but I don't think it's superior to .NET.

If the objective of this exercise is to find a development platform to which we can feed our requirements in one end and produce the code at the other end, I don't believe that we will succeed.

I suspect that opinion will not be popular amongst some of my fellow developers. However, people with real experience in the IT Industry have already arrived at the same conclusion as I have.

What happens is that some kind of vendor of programming technologies
has come up with some product they are claiming makes programming

None of them believed Frederick P. Brooks,
in 1987: “Not only are there no silver bullets now in view, the very
nature of software makes it unlikely that there will be any – no
inventions that will do for software productivity, reliability, and
simplicity what electronics, transistors, and large-scale integration
did for computer hardware…. I believe the hard part of building
software to be the specification, design, and testing of this
conceptual construct, not the labor of representing it and testing the
fidelity of the representation
…. If this is true, building software will always be hard. There is inherently no silver bullet.

I totally agree with Mr. Brooks. THERE'S NO SUCH THING AS A SILVER BULLET FOR SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT. It'd be lovely if there really was a Development platform where you could turn a handle and out pops your application. Such a thing only exists in Science Fiction. In the real world, designing a good software application requires more discipline, dedication and hard work than that.


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