The Software Practitioner’s Digest

The Software Practitioner’s Digest is an informal bimonthly publication aimed at people who participate in the development of software-intensive systems. It highlights the latest down-to-earth publications from renowned sources in the industry and the academia.

Software developers and managers may be particularly interested in this digest, as it covers the ten Knowledge Areas from the SWEBOK: Requirements, design, construction, testing, maintenance, configuration management, engineering management, processes, tools & methods and quality.

Technology- or vendor-specific information is outside the scope of this publication, so articles specific to Java or Linux, for example, are not considered for inclusion.

Motivation

The software industry and the academia are disconnected. On the one hand, practitioners often focus on the current tools of the trade while paying too little attention to the theory underpinning the development of software. Academics, on the other hand, often focus on purely theoretical subjects while engaging too little with the industry to help it understand what works and what doesn’t. In this scenario, it should come as no surprise that software development hasn’t yet become an engineering discipline.

As a practitioner who believes that evidence should guide practice, I constantly (but not exclusively) read technology-independent books and periodicals. This takes time and I find that a fair amount of the literature is (1) impractical or simply aimed at theoreticians, or (2) not supported by actual research (or at least none is referenced). It is unfortunate, as there may be some actionable insight buried in the former and claims made in the latter could potentially be supported by factual information.

I couldn’t find similar initiatives before starting this digest and therefore I decided to share publications that I believe are worth reading by fellow practitioners — I had started something similar at work, so I figured I might as well share it with the broader software development community.

Inspired by Robert GlassFacts and Fallacies of Software Engineering and Steve McConnell‘s Code Complete, two books which emphasize the importance of research in the software industry and whose references served as the basis for the periodicals I now follow, this is intended as my modest follow-up to their work.

Sources followed

The vast majority of the quality publications I read come from the following paid periodicals:

You will find that many of the publications highlighted come from the IEEE-CS. That’s because their┬ápublications are simply the best in terms of relevance, timeliness, practicality and objectivity.

I’m also subscribed to the following news sites, which often publish technology-neutral opinion pieces (loosely) based on sound principles, but seldom reference research that supports their claims:

I also follow some remarkable practitioners/researchers who have blogs or newsletters:

Feel free to recommend me other sources!

  • About the author

    You're visiting the technical blog of Gustavo Narea, a Software Developer based in Oxford.