Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Why software sucks (and is there anything you can do about it??)

If I was still into buying books that are merely tomes of rants or piles of salient facts that I already know, and therefore have only purchased them to throw at other people, I would buy this book:

"Why software sucks, and what you can do about it"

The thing is, books like this aren't aimed at the people that need to learn these very important facts. The geeks that are writing code won't read it, would scoff at it in their ignorance (calling the author ignorant, because they don't know what they don't know and he does) and simply reject its lessons. This is why programmers need managers. Programmers come in all different flavors, some of which are even indistinguishable from regular human beings (meaning, they agree with my assessment of how horrific computers are). The problem is that the most extreme programmers, the ones that do incredible DSP code and 3D modeling/rendering packages, generally don't fit into that group (and are usually the ones responsible for the horrors, though marketing has a lot to do with this too). These kinds of programmers make neat tools with shitty GUIs and antagonistic user experiences. They also make for lousy support and service personnel.

The solution is to basically put project managers over these programmers. This is why commercial/proprietary software tends to have better user experience design and support, compared to the awfulness that is open source (because open source projects are composed of programmers beholden to no one, who do the work because they enjoy it, not because it pays their living wages). So if any of you readers (because I'm sure at least one person other than me has accidentally read something here) are project managers for software products, you should already understand everything in this book, and your only real excuse for shitty product is upper management and the marketing team wrecking all your great efforts...

Read any number of Google Books' excerpted pages from this book and you will learn multiple salient facts about why computers are shit... unless you're a programmer that thinks everyone thinks like you (or should think like you). Step one in correcting your distorted perspective is admitting you have this distorted perspective.