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Chapter 23. Shapes to Come

Is CASE dead? Various among the pontiffs of programming have declared the death, but for every mourner there is an optimistic resurrectionist, for every detractor, a jubilant convert. Guided by this zeitgeist, in 1994 the Australian Computer Society assembled in Melbourne two stellar teams of Aussie consultants and practitioners led by supporter Graeme Simsion and skeptic Rob Thomsett. “The great CASE debate,” as it was styled, argued the pros and cons of the question “Is there a case for CASE in Australia?” The debate proved to be a big event for the Victorian ACS, outdrawing the book launching by a former prime minister held in the same hall earlier that day. For reasons unknown, I had been recruited to round out the negative team. Thomsett, described by Simsion as Australia's most feral consultant, guided our team to victory, although both sides finished on notes of suspiciously similar pitch.

Rumors of the imminent interment of CASE are disturbing indeed, since CASE is no more than computer-aided software engineering. Is it that computers have ceased their aid? Or is it software engineering that has died? Neither, we hope. CASE is not dead and not doomed, although it may be distinctly déclassé. In the never-ending propensity of industry pundits to euphemize or eulogize what they once elevated to sainthood, CASE is out and “integrated development environments” are in. Or at least they were last month.


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