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The Technical and Social History of Software Engineering

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Author/s    : Capers Jones
Publisher   : Addison-Wesley Professional
Category   : Other
Review by : Jeanne Boyarsky
Rating        : 7 horseshoes

"The Technical and Social History of Software Engineering" sounded like an interesting book. Plus it is written by Capers Jones, who I've heard of because of function points.

Most of the book covers computer history by time periods. It starts with the history of counting and goes to the present. Well, actually the future as Capers includes some speculation about the rest of this decade and his thoughts for beyond. For example, Google Glass could provide closed captioning for the deaf.

While I don't know exactly how old Capers is, the preface says he was born before World War II. (1939). This allows him to include a good number of personal experiences as he went through the history. I liked this as I would never have imagined things like the National Institute of Health time sharing on IRS computers.

The chapters by decade show the approximate penetration and distribution of application types. I would have liked to see this in a summary graphical form at the end. Similarly for the statistics of applications by function point.

There were a few non-technical historical summaries. Some seemed relevant. Others seemed like more commentary on society and politics which is something I'd rather not see in a computer book.

I learned a lot in the book. From a "computer" originally being a person who computes to how headhunters got started. I also liked the examples of how modern tools could have prevented historical famous software errors.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for writing this review on behalf of CodeRanch.

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