Feeds

Boffins: Dark times for application development

Ex-Microsoft man holds flashlight

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

You know it's bad when two top programmers at different conferences in a two-week period say we're in the dark ages of software development.

Speaking at MIT's Emerging Technologies conference in Cambridge last week, Charles Simonyi - creator of Microsoft Office, friend of Bill Gates (and Martha Stewart - thanks ZDNet's Dan Farber), cosmonaut and all-round achiever - said current paradigms and tools for developing applications are primitive and must evolve beyond languages and methodologies.

Evolve to what? To include code written by business analysts.

"They are still in the dark ages," Simonyi said of current programming techniques, including model-driven development paradigms such as Unified Modeling Language (UML) and Domain Specific Languages (DSLs) - lately favored by Microsoft. They invite more input from domain experts and business analysts, but that still fails to encapsulate the business problem within the code.

"We are on the verge of the renaissance but we are not there in the practical world," the billionaire told hundreds gathered at MIT's Krege Auditorium.

That's the intent of Intentional Technology, a company Simonyi co-founded in 2002 after a 25-year career with Microsoft. The 20-employee start-up in Microsoft's Bellevue, Washington, has developed a platform and workbench technology that allows programmers to create generic "generators" that ordinary business analysts use to project a representation of the business problem in terms they understand.

"It's like a super-duper PowerPoint because it projects something that is machine processible," said Simonyi, who invented the first What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get (WYSIWYG) word processor, dubbed Bravo - the precursor to Microsoft's evergreen Word.

This approach, which is platform-independent and not wedded to Windows, focuses on the recipe - and how to mix and cook the ingredients - rather than the meal itself. According to Simonyi programmers today spend too much time rearranging or adding ingredients rather than on finding better ways to mix them.

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Next page: Bootnote:

More from The Register

next story
The Return of BSOD: Does ANYONE trust Microsoft patches?
Sysadmins, you're either fighting fires or seen as incompetents now
China hopes home-grown OS will oust Microsoft
Doesn't much like Apple or Google, either
Sin COS to tan Windows? Chinese operating system to debut in autumn – report
Development alliance working on desktop, mobe software
Linux turns 23 and Linus Torvalds celebrates as only he can
No, not with swearing, but by controlling the release cycle
This is how I set about making a fortune with my own startup
Would you leave your well-paid job to chase your dream?
Microsoft cries UNINSTALL in the wake of Blue Screens of Death™
Cache crash causes contained choloric calamity
Eat up Martha! Microsoft slings handwriting recog into OneNote on Android
Freehand input on non-Windows kit for the first time
Linux kernel devs made to finger their dongles before contributing code
Two-factor auth enabled for Kernel.org repositories
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?