Many claims are made about how certain tools, technologies, and practices improve software development. This book gathers and presents real-world data to uncover the truth and unmask myths held among the software development community.
|Book title||Making Software: What Really Works, and Why We Believe It|
|Editors||Andy Oram and Greg Wilson|
|Publication||2010, ISBN: 9780596808327|
Each of us may wonder whether we are using the right software engineering (SE) practices at many points in each project. In the book Making Software: What Really Works, and Why We Believe It, Greg Wilson has accumulated studies on many of the trends and methods in use today and attempted to gain insight into the usefulness of each. To that end, he has enlisted a number of researchers in computer science to collect data about which techniques work, which ones hurt, and which are inconclusive. The book has two sections, the first on how data was gathered and evaluated, and a second on individual SE practices. Each chapter takes a specific area and dives into the studies done and the evaluation of incompatible results. An attempt is then made to come to a conclusion as to the effectiveness of the practice overall.
There are several useful results in the book, but despite the title there are a significant number of inconclusive results. Those cases are well documented and if there is a lot of grey area in such a nascent field it is no surprise. Remember that we are talking about < 60 years of commercial, large scale software efforts and that the Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) was founded in 2005. The articles do a good job of stating their limitations and exploring the current state of knowledge.
It may be interesting, for some readers, to read this book from cover to cover. Some readers may find it more useful to read the initial methodologies section and then read articles on individual SE practices as the need arises. This book may also surprise you and might serve as a useful guide on practices that you may not have considered in the past.