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AFRIK-IT  August 1998

AFRIK-IT August 1998

Subject:

Re: Y2k Parallels

From:

"Anthony J. Brooks" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

African Network of IT Experts and Professionals (ANITEP) List

Date:

Sun, 23 Aug 1998 14:45:18 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (69 lines)

Greetings to all,

At 02:33 PM 8/22/98 -5, cochrane wrote:
>There seems to be a strong correlation among custom-designed
>software, criticality of the information system, and cost of repair.
>One possible explanation is that a highly critical and potentially
>complex system (e.g. a pension fund payments system) is more likely
>to justify an expenditure for a custom solution, and custom solutions
>typically require individual, line-by-line code verification by a
>skilled programmer.
>
I agree.  That's why I emphasize code reviews.  Yes, they are a pain in
the you know what, but, they save a lot of work in the long run.  There
is a running perception out there (at least here in the States) that
software is easy (at least easier to build than hardware systems).  As
an experienced hardware and software developer, I find that software is
more difficult to build due to the lack of industry standards.  On the
other hand, hardware standards have been around for decades, making
hardware development more streamlined and faster to build with less risks.
Building software is like writing a paper.  We all have our different styles
and ways of communicating our thoughts even though we may be following the
rules
of whatever language we are employing.  This even goes to the choice of
words that we may use to get our point across.  The same holds for writing
software.  If you gave a group of programmers an assignment, you will get
back varying results, even though the final products produces the desired
results (assuming the programmers know what they are doing - there are a
lot of
people out there who call themselves "programmers" because they sat in a week
long C/C++ training class).  Unfortunately, a lot of the code out there is not
reviewed proper for a lot of reasons (lack of senior and experienced
programmers
who knows who to perform the reviews, time to market deadlines, attrition in
the industry, ...).

>It would be quite expensive to employ, for example, American
>programmers to undertake source code reviews in Africa.  One thought
>our team has been discussing here has been the establishment of
>Y2K-specific programmer training courses to be held in each region,
>particularly in places where an insufficient number of programmers
>are not already conversant with the programming issues that are
>especially vulnerable.
>
Not necessarily.  I'm working with a South African firm on an software
development effort that includes some Y2K issues.  I'm an American firm
working with them over the Internet.  It really works out well.  I don't
know how many American firms would be willing to take on a job over the
Net in this sense, but, I think this is a way of the future - doing work
internationally over the Net.  Especially for code reviews because feedback
on code being reviewed can be handled using email and one-on-one meetings
can be held using Internet phone and cameras (if not via the good-ole
telephone).

However, working over the Internet requires that both parties have the
facilities and infrastructure for communications.  This is the case for
me on this job.  I do realize that this may not be the norm today.  But,
I think this is the way of the future.  We are still grappling with this
in the States.
--
tony brooks
---------------------------------------------------
Anthony (Tony) Brooks
Software & Data Communications Specialist
===================================================
NuTek 2000, Inc.    Voice: 703/861-8325 or 406-3134
PO Box 554          Fax:   703/406-3021
Herndon, VA 20172   mailto:[log in to unmask]
===================================================

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