Is there an analogy in the house?
People who create software are forever trying to explain their somewhat obscure disipline by offering friendly analogies. The most common one is that making software is like building buildings. Recently there's been some discussion of this notion, including an article on Kuro5hin suggesting that “the software construction analogy is broken.”
Maybe making software is more like politics, or writing laws. Or like writing music. Or like growing critters in vats. Or like…
Brian Marick and Ken Schwaber are trying to broaden the thinking in this area and are organizing an event at an upcoming software conference that they call the Analogy Fest: “The Analogy Fest is an attempt to manufacture serendipity, to create the circumstances in which clever people might have an 'Aha!' moment. We'll do that by having semi-structured, small group conversations about papers that draw analogies between software development and something else.”
Sounds interesting to me. I think they're still looking for more papers to make the event happen. [Scott Rosenberg's Links & Comment]
hmm, well software production is cultural production. it is processual encoding, much like writing, but with slightly different assumptions about the audience. If the audience is a machine, then you have different assumptions, if the audience only understands certain relationships, then you have to write for those relationships, likewise languages, etc.