November 10, 2005

Software Making-Of Videos

Documentation has come along way in recent times.

* From punchcards to PCs, there's always been programmers with attitude "Why should I write comments? I can read my own writing and the best documentation is the code itself".
* Then computer networks allowed elegant (and crap) solutions to be commented on more widely. Sometimes via elegant comments.
* Funny manuals start to appear. The Pathologically Eclectic Rubbish Lister and other gems encouraged linguistics fans to spontaneously self-organise.
* Geek culture blooms. The Internet is fully responsible.
* Open source projects explode in number. Some even manage to stay useful.

then fast forward to events in the last 12 months where we have:

* A video tutorial showing "How to build a blog engine in 15 minutes with Ruby-on-Rails" (a Ruby web framework))
* Followed swiftly by "how to build a database-driven wiki in 20 minutes in Turbogears" (an equivalent framework for Python)
* Followed shortly after by a "how to implement your own online music store in 20 minutes" (again Python/Turbogears)
* Not to be beaten by "Aardvark'ed: 12 Weeks With Geeks", available to buy soon on DVD, documenting the complete lifecycle of a software product from concept to paying customer.

Every couple of years I get all excited thinking that a major shift in public conscious around the Internet is about to happen. And then the penny drops. I'm reminded by some kind soul that programming will remain in its black geek encrusted box because most people simply just don't care.

I accept that but I'm also willing to bet, today at least, that we're going to see a dramatic shift in perception in the next five years. Since when exactly were programmers racing each other to release movies about their code? It may never be Hollywood but software development has got a lot more palatable to the masses in recent times.

Switched-on developers realise it's all about bums on seats. No doubt cheesy special FX intros will follow.

Posted by .M. at November 10, 2005 09:38 AM | TrackBack
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