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enterprise distribution

Jerry Feldman wrote:

> Maybe a bit OT, but...
>I once worked for Higher Order Software (this was the company that coined 
>CASE). The company was a spinoff of Draper Labs where the principals were 
>doing a study of the software bugs in the NASA lunar project. They came up 
>with a way to create "provably correct" software. James Martin wrote a book 
>about the methodology. Essentially, they used the math function model:
>y = f(x) where x is the inputs, y is the outputs. One of the nice things 
>about the tools, was that a designer could use the tool to design and 
>prototype. An implementer could take those "control maps" and build the 
>underlying implementation. Some of the key software people from HOS founded 
>My thesis advisor made a statement about the methodology<
>"The COBOL programmers hate it and are the ones who need it the most, and 
>software engineers love it, but need it the least".

In the 1990's, NYNEX embraced CASE tools in a massive way, and bought 
CASE suites from a company headlined by Fran Tarkinton (the football 
player). The tools and their development were in their infancy, and one 
of my coworkers described them thusly:

"It's like you go to the Cadillac dealer and they say they'll sell you a 
gold-plated Cadillac, and it has gold-plated wheels and gold-plated 
grill and gold-plated bumpers. Everything gold-plated, except that 
there's no steering wheel. 'It's OK', the dealer tells you, 'we'll have 
the steering wheel soon, and when we get one, it will be gold-plated too'".

Needless to say, the brief love affair between the nation's CIO's and 
CASE tools is now mentioned in the same way people talk about Mars 
missions that went off course: everybody assumed that somebody else was 
looking at the basics.


E. William Horne
William Warren Consulting
781 784-7287

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