Sunday, January 14, 2007

Hard-Luck Software - WSJ.com

Another review of Dreaming In Code -- excerpt: 

Software inventor Mitch Kapor is caught in a time warp. His self-funded project to create the ultimate organizer of personal information -- yours, mine and everyone else's -- has slipped further and further behind schedule since the first lines of code were written in 2002. Mr. Kapor's most famous program, the Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheet, was one of the original killer apps that lured nontechies to buy personal computers in 1983. But Mr. Kapor's new project, dubbed Chandler, is a study in how programmers get sucked into "software time," a surreal and open-ended schedule-spiral where the harder you work, the faster the goal recedes.

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To make things worse, the journalist who came onboard to document Mr. Kapor's innovative approach went away instead with field notes for a book on "why software is hard." Scott Rosenberg, a cofounder of the online magazine Salon.com, spent three years tagging along with Mr. Kapor's nonprofit team of programmers as they tried to build Chandler. "Dreaming in Code" interweaves the tale of the frustrated development crew with Mr. Rosenberg's quest to understand why Chandler's "slow-motion trainwreck" seems to be the most common result of ambitious software projects. Why does it take so much longer than anyone plans to develop a new program? Why doesn't it do what we expected? Why, why, why does it still crash?

I still look forward to reading the book...

Source: Hard-Luck Software - WSJ.com

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