Reviewed: "Facts and Fallacies of Software Engineering"
- By Norman Clature
[ADT's PROGRAMMERS REPORT, January 14, 2003] -- One might open Robert L. Glass's Facts and Fallacies
of Software Engineering
with hopeful anticipation. The book promises to embrace controversy
and uncover the significant truths -- as well as the erroneous beliefs -- that
haunt, rule and harry software development.
The promise is heightened early on when the author
acknowledges that he took Alan M. Davis's book 201 Principles of Software
Development [IEEE Computer Society, 1995] as something of a model as he
crafted Facts and Fallacies. Davis's 201 Principles
has been on the top of our shelf for many moons.
Unfortunately, though interesting, Glass's effort disappointed this reviewer.
While it is useful as a collection of ideas that are very pertinent to the
science of software building, in the end, it does not quite stand well as a
Davis gives something of an imprimatur to Glass's latest effort -- he pens a
foreword. However, we can't compare it favorably with Davis's earlier
201 Principles is pint-sized, almost a desktop pal, and Davis had a flair
for the form he pursued. He added analysis, provided context, and often
displayed insight as he presented a series of simply headlined (There is no
perfect way to measure productivity; Avoid tricks; Avoid global variables;
Record your assumptions, etc.) one-page principles he gleaned from extensive
reading of other software experts' books and papers.
Facts and Fallacies , on the other hand, points in a lot of interesting
directions, but serves more as a mere pointer. It is almost as though the author
organized a collection of notes, put them in categorical folders and made some
notations, all in preparation for writing another book.
Attached to each of Glass's entries are useful
bibliographical references to such pivotal software tomes as The Mythical
Man Month and Peopleware, as well as some of Glass's own admirable
work. It is useful to point to these books, but the real thinking that will be
useful to a vexed and overworked developer is in those books, not this one.
Meanwhile, 201 Principles of Software Development
is out of print and fetching a hefty price as a used
For more on Facts and
Fallacies of Software Engineering on the
Addison-Wesley Web site, please go to http://www.aw.com/catalog/academic/product/1,4096,0321117425,00.html
For more on 201 Principles of Software
Development on the Amazon.com site
link, please go to http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0070158401/qid=1042226097/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/103-4934227-6671842?v=glance&s=books
For other Programmer Report articles, please go to http://www.adtmag.com/article.asp?id=6265