No Silver Bullet — Essence and Accident in Software Engineering

I’ve mentioned that to @MJIO this morning which led to an interesting discussion. I’ve only recently discovered it myself, but considering that the paper was written in 1986 I think it is relevant to these days.

My conclusion that frequently changing languages/frameworks/paradigms to the latest and greatest won’t make a significant difference according to the ‘no silver bullet’ concept.

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My favourite quote from the paper. (Which is a great read by the way)

The hardest single part of building a software system is deciding precisely what to build.

31 years later, guess what, nothing changed


Thanks for posting this. You’ve prompted me to reach for a tome that has been in my bookshelf for many years. It is The Mythical Man-Month: Essays on Software Engineering by Fred Brooks. The foreword was written in October 1974.

It is a collection of 15 essays that still make worthwhile reading. Each is introduced with a quote. I love the following one, which introduces the second essay, The Mythical Man-Month:

Good cooking takes time. If you are made to wait, it is to server you better, and to please you. – Menu of Restaurant Antoine, New Orleans


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