Where is the evidence?

Where is the evidence?

Does TDD actually improve software quality?  Are good software developers an order of magnitude better than poor ones?  Do multiple code reviews reduce the number of bugs in the software?  Does your choice of language improve productivity? Do distributed version control systems increase the number of contributions?

Many software developers (myself included) have strong beliefs about many of these questions.  In fact, order a round of beers at EclipseCon and bring up any one of these topics and see what happens. Unfortunately, many of us base our arguments on our own experiences or anecdotes.  Occasionally we will quote some self proclaimed expert in the field and assume our argument is ‚proven‘.  Is this evidence?

As tool developers — building the Best Integrated Development Environment 🙂 — we need to hold ourselves to higher standards. We cannot be designing future IDEs based solely on what works well for me. If you have a few minutes, please watch the following video by Greg Wilson on Software Carpentry: Software Engineering Empirical Results. https://software-carpentry.org/4_0/softeng/ebse. I had the good fortune of meeting Greg a few years ago through the Canadian Consortium for Software Engineering. A much longer version of the talk is available (embedded below): https://vimeo.com/9270320.

Greg Wilson – What We Actually Know About Software Development, and Why We Believe It’s True from CUSEC on Vimeo.

I prefer the longer one as I think he makes a much stronger point about questioning beliefs.