“Capers Jones has accumulated the most comprehensive data on every aspect of software engineering, and has performed the most scientific analysis on this data. Now, Capers performs yet another invaluable service to our industry, by documenting, for the first time, its long and fascinating history. Capers’ new book is a must-read for every software engineering student and information technology professional.”
— From the Foreword by Tony Salvaggio, CEO and president, Computer Aid, Inc.
Software engineering is one of the world’s most exciting and important fields. Now, pioneering practitioner Capers Jones has written the definitive history of this world-changing industry. Drawing on several decades as a leading researcher and innovator, he illuminates the field’s broad sweep of progress and its many eras of invention. He assesses the immense impact of software engineering on society, and previews its even more remarkable future. Decade by decade, Jones examines trends, companies, winners, losers, new technologies, productivity/quality issues, methods, tools, languages, risks, and more. He reviews key inventions, estimates industry growth, and addresses “mysteries” such as why programming languages gain and lose popularity. Inspired by Paul Starr’s Pulitzer Prize–winning The Social Transformation of American Medicine, Jones’ new book is a tour de force—and compelling reading for everyone who wants to understand how software became what it is today.
• The human need to compute: from ancient times to the modern era
• Foundations of computing: Alan Turing, Konrad Zuse, and World War II
• Big business, big defense, big systems: IBM, mainframes, and COBOL
• A concise history of minicomputers and microcomputers: the birth of Apple and Microsoft
• The PC era: DOS, Windows, and the rise of commercial software
• Innovations in writing and managing code: structured development, objects, agile, and more
• The birth and explosion of the Internet and the World Wide Web
• The growing challenges of legacy system maintenance and support
• Emerging innovations, from wearables to intelligent agents to quantum computing
• Cybercrime, cyberwarfare, and large-scale software failure