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Code is the authority

Be damned with all the documentation that is to be done in a software development life cycle. They are time consuming, resource intensive and in the end, probably not updated against the software that is running your application.

Let’s face it. The people who need someone to write software do not know what it takes to manufacture a quality software. They are the ones sold with the message that it is cheap, fast and cross-platform. They cannot accept the facts that software application requires teams of business analysts, usability designers, graphics designers, programmers, technical writers, testers, systems engineers, and a project manager to control them all. They are mostly unable to pay for the army of engineers, or they cannot afford a year of development. In the field of high competition, software companies are forced to take on projects that are cheap and under tight schedule. In the end, software companies end up killing each other. Or end up with poor quality software with patchy documentation.

In the end, the only thing that keeps your application running is the code. In any extreme case, only the code will keep it running.

If you are the only person left, you may only have enough time to implement the requirements into the code. If you realise that the requirements document are not inline with the coding, then the code is the requirements.  Otherwise how was it implemented and kept running for that long? If you realise that the code versioning system is in a mess, then the production code is the version to maintain.

Ultimately, the code is the authority.

Hence, be damned with all the separate documents that are to be maintained separately and kept in synchrony.  We should just document the code as we write the code and the behavior-driven test codes.  Format the comments in a structure such that we could run a parser through it and generate the officious documents demanded by the business users.

Categories: geek thoughts
  1. April 11, 2007 at 10:06 am

    Hahah …. Is that why Java doc is created ?

    Well , it’s a good thing to have documentation. it’s more for those that are new to the project. I believe you have the pain especially when working with some open source projects where there is minimal documentation.

    But one thing I agree is that it’s a very big pain in the a** to have to do it. That is especially so when you have other things that you have to rush also.

  2. Electrostatic Toffee Wrapper
    April 11, 2007 at 2:05 pm

    Thats where Ruby comes in. Clean elegant codes where the code itself is the document.

    Anyway, nicely put. This is what everyone face in the software industry.

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