Monday, August 16, 2010

The complexity of a software product differs from product to product

Towards quality software

It is with ‘Weinberg's Second Law' that Rajnikant Puranik begins his interaction with eWorld: “If builders built buildings the way programmers wrote programs, then the first woodpecker that came along would destroy civilisation.”
Because, to Puranik, who has authored a book on software testing titled The Art Of Creative Destruction (Shroff), it is disappointing that poor software often gets delivered and vendors get away with it, much the same way as with roads and vehicles.
“Shoddy road construction is on account of corruption and mismanagement, but the fact remains that it is so because the road contractors, the concerned bureaucrats and politicians can get away with it! And, so could the big business in the past, with their substandard vehicles,” he frets.
There is no financial liability associated with software that malfunctions, or does not function as expected, and practically all software products carry non-liability clause, rues Puranik. Arguing, therefore, that there has to be some reasonable liability not limited to just the price of the product, he says that in the absence of such a deterrent, even the normal expected testing is not done by the vendor before the product, or its new version, is released.
Excerpts from the e-mail interview.

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