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Re: [xml-dev] RE: XML As Fall Guy

On 12/3/2013 10:20 PM, Stephen Cameron wrote:

Going back to my film analogy, you start with a script usually produced by one person, is that the film design? One that the director, actor and camera-persons etc (as manufacturers) can follow to a predictable result, obviously not! That creative team has to turn the script 'vision' into a product that works for the human audience.

[We might be talking about different kinds of software it occurs to me, I am mainly talking of software that provides information to humans, where meaning becomes such a big issue, not that which controls machines].

I think this gets at something important: the creative film-making analogy seems a reasonably good fit for a word processor, or web shop: human-facing software. I don't think it works as well for building a database, web server, file system, compiler, or operating system, even though humans do use those.

This observation suggests to me that the difficulty we have with analogies for software-making arises from software's protean qualities: software can be written to mimic almost any process or system. Thus different analogies are appropriate to different scenarios. If we discuss software that mimics human perception, like speech recognition systems, or other primarily numerical software, then the building process becomes an exercise in scientific research, rather than a creative endeavor, and doesn't have much to do with building construction in any case.

It might be instructive to identify an appropriate metaphor for a particular software discipline or field of application, rather than trying to find a single correct metaphor for all software practice.


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