Chapter I.5. Managing Large Projects with Software Engineering

Writing a small program is easy. You just type your program in an editor and shove your source code through a compiler. If you find any problems, dig through the source code, fix the problem, and recompile the whole thing all over again. No matter how many bugs pop up in your program, chances are good your program is small enough so you can hunt any bugs and wipe them out without much trouble.

What happens if you need to write a massive program to control the flight of a satellite in orbit or an automatic safety system for monitoring a nuclear plant? Unlike simple programs that can consist of a few hundred lines of code, massive programming projects can contain millions of lines of code. How can you create such a large program, let alone debug, test, and maintain it?

That's where software engineering comes into play. Just as it's much easier to pitch a pup tent by yourself than it is to construct a skyscraper on your own, it's also easier to write a simple program by yourself, but nearly impossible to write a million-line program all by yourself.

When you have to write a huge program, you probably can't do it alone, so you need to work with a team of programmers and coordinate your efforts. Even before you write a single line of code, you need a plan for creating the program from the start. Just as no one starts welding I-beams together to build a skyscraper without making plans first, no one tackles a massive software ...

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