This list complements the software engineering article, giving more details and examples.
For an alphabetical listing of topics, please see List of software engineering topics (alphabetical).
Influence on societyEdit
Software engineers affect society by creating applications. These applications produce value for users, and sometimes produce disasters.
Software engineers build applications that people use.
Applications influence software engineering by pressuring developers to solve problems in new ways. For example, consumer software emphasizes low cost, medical software emphasizes high quality, and Internet commerce software emphasizes rapid development.
- Business software
- Airline reservations
- Computer graphics
- Databases, support almost every field
- Embedded systems Both software engineers and traditional engineers write software control systems for embedded products.
- Engineering All traditional engineering branches use software extensively. Engineers use spreadsheets, more than they ever used calculators. Engineers use custom software tools to design, analyze, and simulate their own projects, like bridges and power lines. These projects resemble software in many respects, because the work exists as electronic documents and goes through analysis, design, implementation, and testing phases. Software tools for engineers use the tenets of computer science; as well as the tenets of calculus, physics, and chemistry.
- Information systems, support almost every field
- Networks and Internet
- Office suites
- Operating systems
- Signal analysis
- Simulation, supports almost every field.
- Traffic Control
- Visualization, supports almost every field
- World wide web
Software has played a role in many high-profile disasters.
- Ariane 5 Flight 501
- Mars probes
- Denver International Airport
- TAURUS - UK share settlement system and dematerialised central share depository.
- Therac-25 - A radiation therapy machine responsible for six overdoses due to faulty software.
- Airbus A320 - The Airbus A320, while a highly safe and successful aircraft, was highly controversial in software engineering circles, being the first civilian Fly-by-wire aircraft. In the Airbus flight control systems, the computer has the final say on all decisions, meaning the safety of passengers depends upon the accuracy of the software specification, and the competence of the engineering teams producing the (multiple, independent) software stacks. Other than the crash of the original plane (in which a demonstration of stability outside the envelope went awry) whose cause is still not fully known, the sole crash which has been attributed to software was the Strasbourg A320 crash of Jan 21, 1992. In this crash which killed 87 people, the pilots had the flat panel display in the wrong mode. It is believed that the pilots had a console in flight path angle mode, instead of vertical speed entry. On entering a vertical speed, the aircraft descended into the mountains, without issuing any kind of warning. This accident shows a fundamental problem of software engineering: even if you implement the specification perfectly, an error in the specification (here, what constitutes an effective user interface), can still be lethal. It also shows another problem with computer controlled vehicles: there is vested interest by the manufacturers to attribute responsibility to the (often deceased) flight crew/drivers, rather than in the design of the vehicle.
Technologies and practicesEdit
Skilled software engineers use technologies and practices from a variety of fields to improve their productivity in creating software and to improve the quality of the delivered product.
Software engineering topicsEdit
Many technologies and practices are (mostly) unique to software engineering, though many of these are shared with computer science.
- List of programming languages
- Visual Basic
Programming paradigm, based on a programming language technologyEdit
- Aspect-oriented programming
- Functional decomposition
- Object-oriented programming
- Post-object programming
- Structured programming
- Configuration management and source code management
- Build tools
- Parsers creation tools
- Process evaluation frameworks
A platform combines computer hardware and an operating system. As platforms become more powerful and less expensive, applications and tools become more widely available.
- Cray supercomputers
- DEC minicomputers
- IBM mainframes
- Linux PCs
- Mac OS and Mac OS X PCs
- Microsoft .NET network software platform
- Palm PDAs
- Sun Microsystems Solaris
- Windows PCs (Wintel)
- Pair programming
- Software inspections/Code reviews
- Software reuse
- Systems integration
Computer science topicsEdit
Skilled software engineers know a lot of computer science including what is possible and impossible, and what is easy and hard for software.
- Algorithms, well-defined methods for solving specific problems.
- Compiler theory
- Data structures, well-defined methods for storing and retrieving data.
- Computability, some problems cannot be solved at all
- Complexity, some problems are solvable in principle, yet unsolvable in practice
- Formal methods
Discrete mathematics is a key foundation of software engineering.
- Number representation
Life cycle phasesEdit
- Development life cycle phase
- Product Life cycle phase and Project lifecycle
- Release development stage, near the end of a release cycle
- Software development lifecycle
Deliverables must be developed for many SE projects. Software engineers rarely make all of these deliverables themselves. They usually cooperate with the writers, trainers, installers, marketers, technical support people, and others who make many of these deliverables.
- Application - the software
- Database - schemas and data.
- Documentation, online and/or print, FAQ, Readme, release notes, Help, for each role
- Administration and Maintenance policy, what should be backed-up, checked, configured, ...
- Upgrade from previous installations
- Upgrade from competitor's installations
- Training materials, for each role
- Support info for computer support groups.
- Marketing and sales materials
- Human resource management
- Project management
- Process management
Many people made important contributions to SE technologies, practices, or applications.
- John Backus: Fortran, first optimizing compiler, BNF
- Vic Basili: Experience factory.
- F.L. Bauer: Stack principle, originator of the term Software Engineering
- Kent Beck: Refactoring, extreme programming, pair programming, test-driven development.
- Tim Berners-Lee: World wide web
- Barry Boehm: SE economics, COCOMO, Spiral model.
- Grady Booch: Object-oriented design, UML.
- Fred Brooks: Managed System 360 and OS 360. Wrote The Mythical Man-Month and No Silver Bullet.
- Edsger Dijkstra: Wrote Notes on Structured Programming, A Discipline of Programming and Go To Statement Considered Harmful, algorithms, formal methods, pedegogy.
- Michael Fagan: Software inspection.
- Tom Gilb: Evolutionary processes.
- Grace Hopper: The first compiler (Mark 1), COBOL, Nanoseconds.
- Watts Humphrey: Capability Maturity Model, headed (founded?) the Software Engineering Institute.
- Jean Ichbiah: Ada
- Michael A. Jackson: Jackson Structured Programming, Jackson System Development
- Bill Joy: Berkeley Unix, vi, Java.
- Brian Kernighan: C and Unix.
- Donald Knuth: Wrote The Art of Computer Programming, TeX, algorithms, literate programming
- Bertrand Meyer: Design by Contract, Eiffel programming language.
- Peter G. Neumann: Computer risks, ACM Sigsoft.
- David Parnas: Module design, social responsibility, professionalism.
- Jef Raskin: Developed the original Macintosh GUI
- Dennis Ritchie: C and Unix.
- Winston W. Royce: Waterfall model.
- Mary Shaw: Software architecture.
- Richard Stallman: Founder of the Free Software Foundation
- Linus Torvalds: Linux kernel, open source development.
- Will Tracz: Reuse, ACM Software Engineering Notes.
- Gerald Weinberg: Wrote The Psychology of Computer Programming.
- Jeanette Wing: Formal specifications.
- Ed Yourdon: Structured programming, wrote The Decline and Fall of the American Programmer.
- About Face by Alan Cooper, about user interface design. ISBN 0-76452641-3
- The Capability Maturity Model by Watts Humphrey. Written for the Software Engineering Institute, emphasizing management and process. (See Managing the software process ISBN 0-201-18095-2)
- The Cathedral and the Bazaar by Eric Raymond about open source development.
- The Decline and Fall of the American Programmer by Ed Yourdon predicts the end of software development in the U.S. ISBN 0-13-191958-X
- Design Patterns by Erich Gamma, Richard Helm, Ralph Johnson, and John Vlissides. ISBN 0-201-63361-2
- Extreme Programming Explained by Kent Beck ISBN 0-32127865-8
- "Go To Statement Considered Harmful" by Edsger Dijkstra.
- The Mythical Man-Month by Fred Brooks, about project management. ISBN 0-201-83595-9
- Object-oriented Analysis and Design by Grady Booch. ISBN 0-8053-5340-2
- Peopleware by Tom DeMarco and Tim Lister. ISBN 0-932633-43-9
- Principles of Software Engineering Management by Tom Gilb about evolutionary processes. ISBN 0-201-19246-2
- The Psychology of Computer Programming by Gerald Weinberg. Written as an independent consultant, partly about his years at IBM. ISBN 0-932633-42-0
- Refactoring: Improving the Design of Existing Code by Martin Fowler, Kent Beck, John Brant, William Opdyke, and Don Roberts. ISBN 0-201-48567-2
Odds and endsEdit
- Traditional engineering
- Software engineering
- Arts and Sciences
- In Chinese, software engineer is called ruan jian gong cheng shi —— 软件工程师
- In French, software engineering is called Ingéniérie logicielle.
- In German, software engineering is called Softwaretechnik.
- In Norwegian, software engineering is called Programvareutvikling.
- In Spanish, software engineering is called Ingeniería del software,
Miscellaneous and to doEdit
- Complexity or scaling
- Software brittleness problem
- Second system syndrome
- Software specialists share common language, terminology, certification, and so on.
- Traditional engineers frequently resort to a balance of factors to achieve optimization.
- Biology and biological engineering have other issues.
- Source code escrow
- Feature interaction problem
- Certification (software engineering)
- SWEBOK Software engineering body of knowledge
- CCSE Computing curriculum for software engineering
- Computer terms etymology, the origins of computer terms
- Professional Organizations
- Government organizations
- Other Organizations
- Full text in PDF from the NATO conference in Garmisch
- Computer Risks Peter G. Neumann's risks column.