Why Software Sucks...and What You Can Do About It

Posted on by Ben Rothke

Why Software Sucks...and What You Can Do About It provides humorous insights into problems with the current state of software development. 

For many people, using a computer includes awkward events such as the infamous Windows blue screen of death, applications crashing, unintuitive interfaces, viruses and spyware, and other horrendous interactions. If commercial airplanes were designed in the same way many software applications are, we would never get on them. Of course, if a plane was designed in such a manner, it would never even be able to leave the gate. 

In Why Software Sucks...and What You Can Do About It, David Platt explains why the situation is so bad. Platt notes that one of the many reasons software is so poor is that the software architects, managers and programmers who develop it don't understand their customers anywhere as well as they should. This disconnect from the customer means that software developers often add features customers don't want or need, and attempt to solve the wrong problems in the first place. 

This misconceptions means that programmers will often make control over the application a top priority, over usability. This in turn renders complex things possible, as opposed to making the simple things simple. 

The underlying message of the book is that computing is not necessarily a technology field, but rather a people field. Platt notes that it is crucial not to push technology for its own sake, rather for finding real problems to solve. 

While written about software developers, the book is jargon-free of techno-geek-speak and written in an easy to read style. Platt references many real-world examples of applications and web pages that don't perform as well as they should. 

For a book on a technical subject, the author brings significant humor to the table. As you read story after story of poorly written software, you will laugh as you can likely relate to the stories. 

The book concludes by showing what you can do to stop the madness. Unfortunately, this requires a lot of time and commitment on the user's part. The effort to stop the madness of poorly written software is going to take a revolution as the book describes. 

Overall, Why Software Sucks...and What You Can Do About It is an entertaining book that has significant value for anyone using applications software. While not written just software developers directly, let's hope over time, they take heed to the author's sage advice.

Ben Rothke

Senior Information Security Manager, Tapad

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