A farewell to soul-crushing code

Towards correct software that enriches our lives

Mike Sperber and Nicole Rauch

Playlists: '35c3' videos starting here / audio / related events

A major part of software development is maintenance, i.e. tinkering with software that should already be completed but still somehow does not work as it should. Software developed by tinkering is the antithesis to resilient technology, and a growing threat to our profession and our lives. Working on this kind of software crushes the soul. Yet this is exactly how most IoT devices (and computers in general) are programmed these days. We need to replace the dead technology-oriented objects of the past with supple models enriching our domains and our souls. This talk shows how it is done.

So how do we gain autonomy over the software of the future, which is currently spiralling out of control? Not with object-oriented programming, as it turns out: Mutable state, the absence of uniform abstraction mechanisms and the complexity introduced by inheritance make it hard for humans to develop correct and robust software. While "agile" has given developers autonomy over the soul-crushing processes of the past, the prevalent technology - object-orientation - is a fundamental part of the problem, not of the solution. It is time to say goodbye; we must start to teach the principles of systematic construction of correct software instead. At the core of this revolution is the consistent application of functional programming, i.e. of immutable data structures, systematic abstraction and data modelling. The talk illustrates the problems of the programming techniques of the past, and shows how to build robust models that lead to useful software.


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