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Software Engineering Resources

The Product - Software
Computer software is the product that software professionals build. It encompasses programs that execute within a computer of any size and architecture, documents that encompass hardcopy and virtual forms, and data that encompasses numbers and text, but also includes representations of pictorial, video, and audio information. The following topic categories are presented:

The Nature of Software

The Nature of Software Engineering

General References for Software Engineering

Opposing or Critical Views


The Nature of Software

Video: Did You Know??
Why is it that software is as important as it is? Spend 4:55 and take a look at this VERY important collage of facts. Thought provoking and a little scary. Very Highly Recommended.

The Nature of Software
A generic discussion by Philippe Kruchten on the nature of computer software and the impact of software engineering.

They Write the Right Stuff
An entertaining Fast Company article about the people who develop software and the way they do it. Good reading. Recommended.

Key Attributes of Complex Software Intensive Systems
A brief article in CIO Magazine that considers Grady Booch's view of SIS and the fundamentals of their development and delivery.

Software as a service
A wikipedia article that provides basic information on SaaS.

Protecting Intellectual Property Right for Software
A reasonably detailed discussion of the nature of software as it applies to the protection of intellectual property rights.

pdf: Patterns of Software: Tales from the Software Community
A collection of essays on software and the people who create it.

Software Disasters
If you think bad things can't happen when software fails, this is the site to visit. Many of our industry's more infamous horror stories are covered. In addition, a worthwhile book by Robert Glass (Software Runaways: Monumental Software Disasters, Prentice Hall, 1998) discusses 16 infamous software projects.

Book: Software Development Failures
Authored by Kweku Ewusi-Mensah, this online book addresses the characterics of failed projects.

High-Pressure Steam Engines and Computer Software
Nancy Leveson (an expert of software safety) has written an intriguing essay that is well worth reading. It can de downloaded from her site.

Unified Theory of Software Evolution
An easily understood article that describes the basic intellectual underpinnings of Lehman's theory of the life cycle of computer programs. Dozens of additional references and many downloadable papers can be found at FEAST.

The Nature of Software Engineering

The nature of software development
Scott Bain attempts to establish that the nature of software development is best characterized as one of evolution.

The nature of software engineering
An introductory discussion of the basic characteristics of software engineering

Positive And Negative Innovations In Software Engineering
A whitepaper by Caper's Jones: “There have been many attempts to improve software development, but progress has resembled a drunkard's walk. Some attempts have been beneficial, but others have been either ineffective or harmful.”

Software Engineering: Moving From Craft to Profession
This paper provides a status report on various activities, past and present, which provide the basis for transforming software engineering from craft to profession.

Creating a Software Engineering Culture
lAn article by Karl Weigers that discusses “a set of shared values and principles that guide the behaviors, activities, priorities, and decisions of a group of people working in the same area.”

Book: The Human Aspects of Software Engineering
An online book length by James E. Tomayko and Orit Hazzan.

Video: Introduction to Software Engineering (2 parts)
An indepth introduction to the subject.

General Resources for Software Engineering

Guide to the Software Engineering Body of Knowledge
SWEBOK is a comprehensive guide to the full body of software engineering knowledge. Recommended.

This "scientific literature digital library" is one of the Web's best sources for software engineering research. Access to thousands of technical papers that are organized using an intriguing networked arranged by reference. Highly recommended for the serious researcher.

ACM Digital Library
The ACM has created the ACM Digital Library, enabling you to download the full text of articles and papers in many ACM publications. There is a fee for this service, and it is open only to ACM members.

Computer Science Bibliographies
The basis for a solid understanding of computer software and software engineering lies in computer science. A collection of close to 600 bibliographies in the field of computer science, comprising about 330,000 references.

Shareware/Freeware Library
This library includes dozens of subcategories and tens of thousands of apps. One of the most comprehensive software libraries on the net.

Opposing or Critical Views

Rejecting Software Engineering
Eric Wise argues: "When I actually get some free time and surf around the blogosphere I often see people referring to software as "engineering". I've always had a problem with this term because it implies things about software development that simply are not." As a counter point see ... (next resource)

Rumors of Software Engineering's Death are Greatly Exaggerated (aka Software Engineering Ignorance, Part II)
From the response by Steve McConnell: "A reader of my previous blog post on Software Engineering Ignorance pointed me to Eric Wise's blog post Rejecting Software Engineering. Eric seems like a bright guy, and he's a persuasive writer, but his post is another example of what I was referring to in my earlier post -- that is, people who are uninformed about software engineering spreading misinformation about it."

Nerdlife: "Why SE Sucks"
In the interest of balance, here's a rather opinionated piece by a student arguing against software engineering. Please be certain to read the comments from readers and recognize that a disciplined approach to anything rubs some folks the wrong way.

The end of software engineering and the start of economic-cooperative gaming
"An alternative underlying model for software development is described: Software development is a series of goal-directed, resource-limited, cooperative games of invention and communication. The primary goal of each game is the production and deployment of a software system; the residue of the game is a set of markers to assist the players of the next game."

Revisiting The Facts and Fallacies of Software Engineering
A book review with commentary.


There are literally thousands of books written about computer software. The vast majority discuss programming languages or software applications, but a few discuss software itself.

The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology
may very well be the most important book on computing published so far in the 21st century.
Everyware: The Dawning Age of Ubiquitous Computing (Voices That Matter) and
Context-Aware Pervasive Systems: Architectures for a New Breed of Applications
introduce the concept of “open-world” software and predict a wireless environment in which software must adapt to requirements that emerge in real-time.
Software Shock presents an early discussion (directed at the layman) of software and the way professionals build it.
Being Digital
is a best-selling book that provides a view of computing and its overall impact in the 21st century.
Why Does Software Cost So Much?
is a collection amusing and insightful essays on software and the process through which it is developed.
The Invisible Computer
Information Appliances and Beyond
suggest that the widespread impact of the PC will decline as information appliances and pervasive computing connect everyone in the industrialized world and almost every “appliance” that they own to a new Internet infrastructure.
The Software Conspiracy: Why Software Companies Put out Faulty Products, How They Can Hurt You, and What You Can Do argues that the “modern scourge” of software bugs can be eliminated and suggests ways to accomplish this.
Digital Divide: Facing a Crisis or Creating a Myth argues that the “divide” between those who have access to information resources (e.g., the Web) and those that do not is narrowing as we move into the first decade of this century.

Many books addressing the software process and software engineering have been published in recent years. Some present an overview of the entire process while others delve into a few important topics to the exclusion of others. Needless to say, the world's bestseller and our favorite is:

Software Engineering: A Practitioner's Approach, seventh edition

Other popular offerings are:

Swebok: Guide to the Software Engineering Body of Knowledge
The Project Manager's Guide to Software Engineering's Best Practices
Facts and Fallacies of Software Engineering (Agile Software Development)
Object Oriented Software Engineering: A Use Case Driven Approach (ACM Press)
Integrated Approach to Web Performance Testing: A Practitioner's Guide
Software Engineering: Theory and Practice
Object-Oriented and Classical Software Engineering
Software Engineering, 8th Edition
Essentials of Software Engineering

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