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Why modular
Last updated at 12:03 am UTC on 17 January 2006
'A 500 foot high Egyptian pyramid took hundreds of thousands of workers several decades to construct. They piled up material brick on brick then finished the outside with a smooth layer of limestone. By contrast, the 1000 foot high Empire State Building was constructed from scratch in less than 11 months by less than 3000 workers. Quite a bit of today's software and its construction process resemble the Egyptian pyramid, but I would dare say that no one currently knows how to organize 3000 programmers to make a major piece of software from scratch in less than 11 months.

I interpret this to mean that "Software Engineering" is still an oxymoron (like airline food, university parking, and even "computer science"). Still, what we do today is rather like the design and construction of buildings before architecture literally the "tech-ing" of "arches" in that we can occasionally make something that functions, even if it does resemble a jumble of materials. This is a kind of ancient engineering, an ad hoc cookbook of recipes that have somewhat worked in the past.' Alan Kay



It might take another several decades, hundreds of thousands of workers to dismantle these pyramids, to reuse the bricks. It's doable.

Three decades after Smalltalk 72, we have Squeak 3.2.

Would anyone dare to predict the outcome of this modularizing efforts ?

Is it doable ? Would it take X elites Y months to accomplish it ?
(Where X and Y are SmallIntegers, aren't we lucky that Squeak can also handle LargeIntegers ;-)

Isn't modularity supposed to be an intrinsic property of OO paradigm ?

Would anyone dare say that no one currently knows how to organize
1770 classes and 243584 objects so that they don't make a mess where they live ?

If Squeak cannot be modularized, then is it proof that ' "Software Engineering" is still an oxymoron ' ?

Or it's just because that Squeak is really alive ? If this is the case then we have reasons to celebrate ?

"Software Engineering" is no longer an oxymoron. It can create life out of bits and bytes.