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A Brief History of Software Technology

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To mark IEEE Software's 25th anniversary, Software Technology column editor Christ of Ebert presents a review and road map of major software technologies, starting with the magazine's inauguration, 1984. Learning from the many hypes and often long introduction cycles, he provides some timeless principles of technology evaluation and introduction. Good car drivers assess situations past, present, and future with a mix of skills and qualities. They make unconscious decisions and meld impressions, experiences, and skills into appropriate real-time actions. The same holds for assessing software technology. When reflecting on which technologies have had the most impact in the past 25 years, we can assess it quantitatively, by looking at research papers or "hype-cycle" duration, for example. Alternatively, we might judge it like the expert driver, intuitively evaluating what was achieved compared to what was promised from a user perspective. Of course, many major technology breakthroughs happened before 1984: Milestones such as the IBM OS/360 and the microprocessor, and even many still-relevant software engineering practices, had been developed much earlier.

Published in:

Software, IEEE  (Volume:25 ,  Issue: 6 )

Date of Publication:

Nov.-Dec. 2008

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