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Computing Thoughts
Software Development Has Stalled
by Bruce Eckel
January 29, 2010
I think my subconscious mind has been figuring this out over the past number of years.


For the longest time -- most of my time in the field -- we've always been able to look forward and have at least an inkling of the fantastic jumps ahead, and the productivity that software development tools would enable.

But in recent years it has started to look like we're moving out of the revolutionary period of big innovation, and into a phase of relative stability. There are lots of reasons for this failure of imagination, but a large part of it might be that we've satisfied our initial needs. Software development has moved forward enough, and now we are just exploring what we can do with it. And we can do a lot with our current tools that we haven't yet fathomed.

These things, however, do not drive forward the basic concepts of software development. They will certainly improve the world, but the pressure to rethink the way that we program seems to be off.

Do I have any research or facts to support this idea? None, whatsoever. It's all based on my intuition, and the fact that I've been getting less and less interested in programming languages over the past few years. But I've discovered that, however unreasonable my intuition might seem, it always tells me something useful.

Even more important is my increasing awareness that, no matter how good and powerful our software tools get, we are only getting a fraction of the leverage out of them that we could get.

Programming tools are no longer where the greatest potential lies.

We will get the biggest leverage, not just in programming but in all our endeavors, by discovering better ways to work together. Those are the sessions I will either be creating or attending at the upcoming Java Posse Roundup, March 15-19 2010. It's not going to be just about programming.

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About the Blogger

Bruce Eckel ( provides development assistance in Python with user interfaces in Flex. He is the author of Thinking in Java (Prentice-Hall, 1998, 2nd Edition, 2000, 3rd Edition, 2003, 4th Edition, 2005), the Hands-On Java Seminar CD ROM (available on the Web site), Thinking in C++ (PH 1995; 2nd edition 2000, Volume 2 with Chuck Allison, 2003), C++ Inside & Out (Osborne/McGraw-Hill 1993), among others. He's given hundreds of presentations throughout the world, published over 150 articles in numerous magazines, was a founding member of the ANSI/ISO C++ committee and speaks regularly at conferences.

This weblog entry is Copyright © 2010 Bruce Eckel. All rights reserved.

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