Evolution of software development - developer productivity, team productivity, organizational productivity

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Being a developer for more than 36 years and an employee of Borland for 20 years, I've ample time to think about and experience first hand the challenge, opportunity, and fun of the world of software development. In recent presentations I have talked about the evolution of software development, the changes that have taken place in tooling and process, and the changing face of organizations and individuals who are involved in software efforts.

The bitmap below highlights several of the “epochs“ in the evolution of software development.  Each themed section focuses on the programming languages, software engineering solutions, tooling, and organizational trends that took placeduring the past 25+ years.  This graphic was part of a presentation given at the 2005 EclipseCon conference.  The time frames are not meant to be “to scale“ or to be precisely “date“ accurate.  The bitmap is presented more to show the progression of areas, platforms, processes, languages, capabilities, etc during the past 20+ years or so. (Click on the bitmap to bring up a larger version of the image)

While many developers (especially individuals and in small shops) just think about programming and the code, in small and larger organizations there are many other team members involved in most successful development projects. At Borland we have (and will) continued to extend the capabilities of our products to include the everyone who takes part in software development including the executives, managers, analysts, architects, developers, testers, technical writers, operations staff, users, etc. We are not just talking about IDE(s) or Development Platform(s), there are more persectives or views for an extended set of people in an organization who participate in the software development process. All SDP(s) (IDE(s)) will have to provide interfaces for the non-core people on the "team".  At the Borland developer conference in 2003, Thomas Murphy (then at MetaGroup, recent;y bought by Gartner Group, now working at Microsoft) told our audience, “if you are an individual developer, you are the analyst, the architect, the programmer, the tester“. 

We are extending our reach across the software group and into the business/user areas that interact with software projects, while still focusing on the critical importance of developers.  Borland Core SDP is the product that offers the first customizable and integrated process- and role-centric platform for application lifecycle management. We continue all of our work on developer centric products as well.

Companies, researchers, and individuals have been trying to remove the developer from software development since the early days of computing with little success. Remember the era of CASE tools and other products and solutions that were going to replace programming? At Borland, developers and developer solutions are still central to what we are focused on.

Attempts to remove programmers and programming:

Automatic Programming

End User Programming

Watch what I do

End-User and Domain-Specific Programming Resources

CASE tool list

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David Intersimone (known to many as David I.) is a passionate and innovative software industry veteran-often referred to as a developer icon-who extols and educates the world on Embarcadero developer tools. He shares his visions as an active member of the industry speaking circuit and is tapped as an expert source by the media. He is a long-standing champion of architects, developers and database professionals and works to ensure that their needs are folded into Embarcadero's strategic product plans. David holds a bachelor's degree in computer science from California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo, California.


  • Guest
    SwitchBL8 Monday, 15 August 2005

    Yawn indeed.

    See my post (click on link).


  • Guest
    David Intersimone Tuesday, 16 August 2005

    Hello SwitchBL8 - just posted the following comment to your blog article on my blog entry :) Thanks for commenting and giving me some feedback on the chart.


    David I


    Thank you for commenting on my Blog entry. There was not specific x and y axis timescale, the graph was meant to talk about the software engineering/tooling/product "epochs" that have taken place. I will update the post to add some words to make sure there is no misunderstanding by readers. We are still focused on all aspects of software development. You can't have software organization or team optimizations/solutions without focusing on the developer role. We are doing just that. It is additive! We have all sizes of "boats" to find all sizes of developers, organizations, and companies. We are working on some plans to extend our reach further "down" into the developer world. Stay tuned!

    David I


  • Guest
    SwitchBL8 Tuesday, 16 August 2005

    Hi David,

    Thanks for reading my rants. I tend to write in a black-and-white kinda way. It seems that's what the world needs, nowadays. Telling people they need another shade of grey just don't cut it anymore.

    The axis-thing was to be read with a cynical undertone. But to me the graph implied a progress, whereas (IMHO) a lot of it is just history repeating itself. Targetted at another audience, so the keywords needed adjustment. That's how I see it.

    People that know me, know that I'm not the biggest fan of Microsoft (this is an understatement), but with their VS they beat Borland hands down. Again, IMHO.

    Hey, I'll stop ranting now. Keep up the good work, and start creating CHEAP versions of Delphi. Not tomorrow, but NOW. No ifs or buts, just do it.

  • Guest
    Mike Evteev Tuesday, 16 August 2005

    Does this mean that David I made a choice between Borland's SDP and "development" future? Such posts might be very symptomatic...

  • Guest
    SwitchBL8 Monday, 5 September 2005

    What do you know? Yesterday I received a Borland offer to upgrade to Delphi2005 Pro for only €460, instead of the usual €1000+. Perhaps I will change my mind about not upgrading.

    Anyways: I think this is a step in the right direction, but...this offer only lasts only until September 30th. Shame.

  • Guest
    James Tuesday, 5 September 2006

    It was good

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