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Richard Conn <[log in to unmask]>
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Richard Conn <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 20 Jul 2000 06:11:56 -0400
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We all know, and most of us embrace, software engineering principles as
a key element in how we use Ada to develop software.  Another change is
that Microsoft, with its reputation for hacking code, has a three-volume
set on Software Engineering Classics out.  While it's not (yet) mandatory
for all Microsoft developers, the same concepts we have come to value are
here as well, but in a venue that can catch the attention of the Level 1

These books include:
  "Software Project Survival Guide," by Steve McConnell, editor of the "Best
     Practices" column in IEEE Software (at the time the book was written -
     in it you will find references to the CMM and NASA's Software
     Lab as well as loads of experiences with building Microsoft software
  "Dynamics of Software Development," by Jim McCarthy, former director of
     Microsoft's Visual C++ Program Management Team (overseeing 220 software
     developers who worked on Visual C++) - not so well written, but tons of
     lessons learned from handling such a large team of developers
  "Debugging the Development Process," by Steve Maguire, on developing
     with a team of people

Add to this Microsoft's adoption of Visio into Office.  Visio, which is a
tool for
data visualization, supports, among other things, the creation of Entity
Diagrams, Data Flow Diagrams, all the Unified Modeling Language diagrams,
diagrams, and about 35 other kinds of diagrams.  It's also more of a
tool than just a drawing tool, allowing you to write programs that get to
the networked
data structures behind the diagrams and create programs which use the
diagrams as
front-ends.  In the Enterprise edition of Visio, one of the added features
is an automated
specification generator from UML diagrams to Visual Basic and Visual C++

This kind of change of Microsoft shows more insight into their movement into
territory that Ada has been thriving in, but tools like Visio are much
than the Ada-oriented tools I've seen so far.  But not too surprising,
really, when
you consider that there are people like Steve McConnell and Jim Gray (head
of Microsoft
R&D in the San Francisco Bay area and a recent ACM Turing award winner)
working for
and within Microsoft.

The Ada community can do things to correct this deficiency, but they won't
do it by
trying to ignore Microsoft.  A link between the Visio and Ada technologies
would help,
especially since its integration with Microsoft Office moves Visio's current
base of about 4.5M users into the Office base of 120M users.

Richard Conn, Principal Investigator
Reuse Tapestry