I’ve been to The Future of Software Engineering Symposium at ETH Zurich. It was amazing to meet in person some of the true legends of our field. Here’s a random set of entertaining notes I took.

E. Gamma re C. Alexander’s books on pattern language:

— Those are the books we’d like to have on our shelves. Some of us even read them. I didn’t.

D. Parnas:

— “Requirements” is not a list. It’s a predicate.

— …But the open source code I looked at is crap! (in response to Gamma’s offer to learn good design from OSS projects)

— Did the people who spell well learn it from a spell checker? (re a verification tool driving the coding)

M. Broy:

— Software engineering is in a much better shape than one would think after attending this conference.

N. Wirth:

— Everyone get the language they deserve.

A. Zeller:

— If you need a lot of versatile bug samples for your static analysis, simply take AspectJ.

— How do we solve anything fundamental in software engineering now? Everyone takes his tool of choice, like a hammer, and we together beat the problem until it’s smashed.

B. Meyer:

— JUnit isn’t an automated testing, it’s just an automated tests running.

P. Cousot:

— Programmers live in a virtual world, without responsibility.

Y. Gurevich:

— The future isn’t what it used to be.

— For a breakthrough in software engineering we need something like what quantum physics is for physics; something where our intuition is of no value.

— Everyone keeps checking if his program is correct, while the answer is obvious: it isn’t.


Such a fanboy :)

D. Parnas has signed his epic paper for me