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70

Robert Harvey's answer is good, but I think he left out what may be the biggest reason why programmers are more productive than ever: widespread availability of software libraries. When I started my career there was no STL, .NET, QT, etc. You had raw C or C++, and that was about it. Things that used to take days or weeks or work (XML parsing, TCP/IP ...


61

For the sake of argument, I disagree with the assertion of Fred Brooks. There is an improvement in technology which allowed alone an order-of-magnitude improvement in productivity: internet, and more precisely the progressive availability of internet connection in every home in the last two decades. Being able to find instantly an answer to nearly every ...


57

Do developers in 2014 produce software at a rate less than 10x faster than their counterparts in 1986? I would imagine that there's been at least an order of magnitude improvement in productivity since then. But not by leveraging one single development, in either technology or in management technique. Increases in productivity have come about by a ...


13

I'd say the internet is a pretty good candidate. StackOverflow and Google are a modern-day developer's most powerful tools. Instant knowledge-sharing on a global basis! These days you don't need to know the answers, you only need to know how to get to know the answers - and that is a perfectly adequate subsitute that allows developers to spend less time ...


7

I would suggest that trends pulling us in the other direction (i.e. toward lower productivity) are at least as strong as the trends you asked about. The experience of doing client/server development tool like VB6 or PowerBuilder came pretty close to the "Rapid Application Development" (RAD) ideal. You got to draw your forms, and there were obvious hooks for ...


5

Technology has advanced very much and now we have all the things Robert Harvey enumerates in his answer, but: The problem seems to be changing requirements. The client knows that there will not be waste of materials when changing the requirements of a software project, so they do. That kind of requirement changes almost never happen once a physical-world ...


3

While one might argue with specific metrics (ie, have things improved by a factor of 9.98?), I (speaking as something of an old-timer) have to agree with the general sentiment of Brooks' comment. First off, there has been very little truly new technology invented since maybe 1970. Yes, integrated circuits have gotten longer, lower, wider, and glass fiber ...


3

A great deal of what we have learned in software engineering practice in the past 30+ years is of the form "technology X can speed up initial development of new software, but if you don't spend as much or more time thinking about how and when to use it as you saved by using it, in the long run it will turn your application into a sucking swamp of technical ...



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