I had mixed reactions to Apple’s announcement of Swift. My first thought was, maybe two wrong’s will make a right? Objective C is the first wrong. Now Apple’s creating another closed language of its own and I’m struggling to see why they couldn’t have used one of a few other open, existing languages instead.
Part of my frustration stems from the fact that at one point Apple actively blocked developers from using languages like Lua in iOS apps. Now they’re releasing a language that looks very similar to Lua. I’m not sure if that’s ironic, or hypocritical, or maybe a combination. One thing seems apparent; Apple exercises strong control over their developers.
Time will tell if it was a good move. Keep your fingers crossed.
The media seems to have taken up reporting software bugs lately. Remember “Goto fail”? Now we have the Heartbleed bug. This seems to be playing out like a lame version of Pacific Rim; one monster after the next.
It would be nice if the media’s new fascination would make our software safer or protect us all. I’d like to call for equal attention to software quality, but with a higher level of maturity and sophistication. We can’t afford to be naive about the technology we rely on so much.
As a software developer, I’m often frustrated by the overly biased pressure to release software quickly. There’s often far less emphasis on quality or usability. The result is invariably poor software quality. Developing software is extremely expensive. It makes sense that companies prioritize as they do. Without making a profit, they can’t exist to do anything.
That said, we as consumers set the bar for what will and what won’t succeed in the market. If we don’t provide pressure to do better, companies will continue to churn out poor software. We need to file bug reports, participate in forums, and vote with our wallets for products with higher quality. There are many other things we can do.
We spend an increasing amount of time using our “devices”. We entrust increasingly sensitive data to software. The number of devices with Internet connectivity is increasing ever faster (see IoT). This means the number of places we can be attacked by hackers, and the number of places we are vulnerable to simple software bugs is also rapidly increasing. If you believe in Tipping Points, this one could be a doozy.
Let’s do our part to increase software quality, and even the process of making it better.
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