28 January 2007

Intentional Software: programming that captures the intentions of computer users [New York Times]

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Charles Simonyi
“Most software isn’t much good,” writes in The New York Times. “Too many programs are ugly: inelegant, unreliable and not very useful. Software that satisfies and delights is as rare as a phoenix.” […]

“Bad software is terrible for business and the economy.” […]

“The reasons aren’t hard to divine. Programmers don’t know what a computer user wants because they spend their days interacting with machines. They hunch over keyboards, pecking out individual lines of code in esoteric programming languages, like medieval monks laboring over illustrated manuscripts.”

Charles Simonyi, the chief executive of Intentional Software, a start-up in Bellevue, Wash., believes that there is another way. He wants to overthrow conventional coding for something he calls ‘intentional programming,’ in which programmers would talk to machines as little as possible. Instead, they would concentrate on capturing the intentions of computer users.”

“Mr. Simonyi, the former chief architect of Microsoft, is arguably the most successful pure programmer in the world, with a personal fortune that Forbes magazine estimates at $1 billion.” […]

“He designed Microsoft’s most successful applications, Word and Excel, and he devised the programming method that the company’s software developers have used for the last quarter-century.”

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