The Technical and Social History of Software Engineering

“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.

Coverage includes:

  • 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

Table of Contents
Chapter 1. Prelude: Computing from Ancient Times to the Modern Era
Chapter 2. 1930 to 1939: The Foundations of Digital Computing
Chapter 3. 1940 to 1949: Computing During World War II and the Postwar Era
Chapter 4. 1950 to 1959: Starting the Ascent of Digital Computers and Software
Chapter 5. 1960 to 1969: The Rise of Business Computers and Business Software
Chapter 6. 1970 to 1979: Computers and Software Begin Creating Wealth
Chapter 7. 1980 to 1989: The Rise of Personal Computers and Personal Software
Chapter 8. 1990 to 1999: Expansion of the World Wide Web and the Rise of Dot-Coms
Chapter 9. 2000 to 2009: The Rise of Social Networks and Economic Crises
Chapter 10. 2010 to 2019: Clouds, Crowds, Blogs, Big Data, and Predictive Analytics
Chapter 11. Modern Software Problems
Chapter 12. A Brief History of Cybercrime and Cyberwarfare

Appendix A. Annotated Bibliography and References

Book Details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional (November 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0321903420
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321903426
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