E-BUSINESS IN THE ENTERPRISE – The mysteries of flexible software: “A software application is nothing more than a mega-squadron of numbers, flying through lots and lots of functions (also made of numbers) in close formation. A gigantic, high speed display of numerical acrobatics. Smell the kerosene.
Given that it is all just numbers, the split between numbers that are easy to change and those that are not, is something that is under our control. Indeed, the very idea that there are numbers which can easily be changed and numbers which cannot be easily changed, is an engineering invention. It is *us* – not the machine – that creates that distinction. We write programs in things called ‘computer languages’ and we distill out the numbers we need with things called ‘compilers’. The rest of the numbers, we put into containers with names like ‘databases’ and ‘XML’ and ‘configuration files’ and ‘registries’ and so on.
The latter type of number is one we can change relatively easily. The former we cannot, due to rules of the game that we, not the machine, impose.
Given that the phrase ‘code change’ is almost synonymous with ‘cost’ we need to think very carefully about parameterization during software design. We need to get our programmers engaged with the idea.”

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