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Chapter 7. Cowboy Coders

The millennium arrived and you didn't even know it! Software reliability became, at long last, a reality. And how was this breakthrough in software engineering achieved? I quote from a 16-page marketing blurb from Nanomush, Inc., mailed to millions of benighted users and developers: “One of the most powerful additions to Blerbbleflox 3.1 is 'parameter validation.' Parameter validation means that when information is passed from an application to the Blerbbleflox operating system, Blerbbleflox checks the information to make sure it is valid.” What a novel idea! Why didn't you think of that, eh? (Of course, everyone knew I was talking about Microsoft and Windows 3.1. LLC).

This bit of attempted self-congratulation revealed that Nanomush, one of the world's largest developers of languages and operating environments, had finally begun to practice the rudiments of sound software engineering, techniques so basic that those worthy of the name programmer have known and practiced them since shortly after they learned to code. Could this cast some light on the shortcomings of earlier releases of similar software? But we should rejoice rather than carp, lauding the efforts of all fledgling software engineers, encouraging them to continue to mature, perhaps even to try to learn about coupling and cohesion or information hiding.


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