Full Discussion (Is Uncle Bob serious?)

Blaine,

First of all, I appreciate this piece very much. I really like the references you have here. I don't see many people quoting that Fast Company article, but it's been a mainstay of professionalism arguments I've had for a long time.

I didn't take from Uncle Bob's article that professionalism was lacking from developers. I do agree that better tools might help with improving code quality.

My experience has been, and continues to be, market forces tend to drive code quality down. Most developers that I know, given the time, would make code that is very high quality. The challenge there, is that time costs money, and those who are driving financial decisions want to spend as little money as possible for their product.

On something like an automated car, errors could kill people. Death of people costs a lot of money. For that reason, more time is allotted to ensure the car doesn't hurt people.

For something like a marketing website, errors could simply cause the website to not work. This isn't likely to be a very expensive problem, so less time is put into craftsmanship.

I agree with you - the problem isn't professionalism. The problem is investment.

Thanks, Cory. I couldn't agree more.

Management often thinks the cheapest software has few QA controls but that's a fallacy (construction is cheaper but they pay a (often huge) premium for testing, debugging, and maintenance).

Software with no QA controls is at high risk of never being released. And it will almost certainly be full of bugs if it is released. At the other end of the spectrum is safety-critical software where they spend extreme amounts of money trying to ensure the defect rate is extremely low. And the maximum ROI for an average project uses a moderate number of QA controls. They catch lots of the defects at a fairly low cost per defect discovered.

Most of the projects I've seen and software I've used almost certainly could have been developed more cheaply if they moved a little to the right (or more than a little) on the spectrum and improved their quality.

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