My new programming language that always compiles, never has bugs, has perfect style and is generally delivered on time, (all IMHO) is English. Developers must have a screw loose. Generally they refuse to write anything down, often they say the documentation is in the code, any yet, most of their leasure time is taken up refactoring rewriting and perfecting that algorithm that started out as a simple sort and is now drinking credit card limits on a cluster of Amazon nodes. Meanwhile, those crafty non developer types, lean back and claim victory with a page of prose that no compiler can even start to understand, and yet, they are the ones living it up with deadlines met. Now, we do do our best to ensure that doesnt happen, but there is a lesson to be learnt here.

Although 90% of those that write code for a living don’t do documentation and certainly don’t do it in advance, its far quicker and easier to experiment with ideas in plain English. (oops forgot that should be _i18n_native_tongue_ ), I wont go on, suffice it to say I’ve been trying out spec before implementation and found that on many occasions nuances that I can see would have appeared in the implementation have appeared in the spec, but the cost of correction has been significantly lower and my personal dialect of english has passed my patched english complier most of the time. Other’s substandard copies have problems. The bigest thing I have noticed with this approach is that I haven’t wasted hours debugging what I would eventually throw away.

It’s interesting that the software industry does so little of this. My first vocation in life was a design engineer; mechanical, high vacuum. There was no point in taking a stock bar out of the stores putting it into a lathe and hoping to machine off the right amount to make a stub shaft. In fact with high vacuum and often high voltage that was a positively dangerous pastime. Perhaps 200 years ago at the start of the industrial revolution or today if creating a work of art, but for engineering the physical material is always the last final part of the process. As software engineering, still a young profession evolves perhaps we will see more design and works of art and less metal bashing.