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Software: More Than Code?

24 Sep 2009

I have always been a big supporter and advocate of making sure code is done correctly. I did a presentation at Drupal Camp Wisconsin this past summer about module building best practice which did not show any lines of code, but instead focused on testing, security, documentation, and community. I also put in a session for Paris, which did not get accepted, about similar things.

I recently went to the very informative Continuous Integration presentation in Paris. At that presentation there were a number of people that asked how long it took to setup the environment and the presenters had a number for it; but when I asked how much time it saved, there was no answer, not even the ability to estimate. And with some recent discussions I am having with some very respected people, I am unable to quantify the value of process.

I feel like its really hard to get metrics on how processes and methods really do make for better software. I feel like my heart is in the right place, but it seems so tough to be able to convince people that certain processes hold so much benefit over just having something work. So, how do we put specific value on these sort of things:

  • Documentation
  • Security
  • Automated Testing
  • Methodology (like Agile)
  • Open Source
  • Peer Review
  • Drupal Core Issue Queue
  • Coding Standards

It seems to be if people don’t value these things, they don’t do them. How can I convince people that these things are just as important as elegant code or the fact that it works (for now)?

  What is the Value of Process?
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