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John Paul Cook

Is Your Software the Result of Evolution or Intelligent Design?

Today is the day authors traditionally write things that aren't oh so serious, so I'm wondering why Steve Ballmer keeps talking about the evolution of software at Microsoft but never intelligent design. Every time I go to a Microsoft or SQL Server conference, I hear people talking about evolutionary changes. Doesn't evolution have something to do with random changes? If I wanted random changes, I'd be using open source. Haven't you used a new feature that was so good, so suited to the tasks you do that you thought, wow, the people who designed this are really good?

I visit the Microsoft campus every now and then, ostensibly to work or attend meetings. But I have a secret agenda in these trips. I'm looking for the intelligent designer. Or designers. When I walk around the Microsoft campus, I carefully examine each building wondering if an intelligent designer works there. I'm not swayed by all of that talk about evolution at Microsoft. I think the intelligent designers should get credit for great design work instead of having their work described as the result of natural selection (although when something doesn't work well, blaming it on a deleterious mutation might be convenient). Does Visual Studio have a class evolver in it? No! It has a class designer.

Now all of us have had at least one coworker in the past whose work was clearly random. Maybe you've worked on a project with no intelligent design at all. In those cases, perhaps random evolutionary change is the only hope for anything good to happen. I'm looking for less evolution and more intelligent design on my next project or in my next purchase.

Published Tuesday, April 1, 2008 8:38 AM by John Paul Cook
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Paul Nielsen said:

Great Post!

April 1, 2008 10:16 AM

jchang said:

there are times i will take random chance, atleast 1 out 10 will be correct. i seen too much code where 9 out 10 choices were good, and yet our developer has the unfailing ability to consistently, and i mean consistently, find the stupid choice. for one example, some one decided the openxml feature added to sql 2000? was so wonderful they went and changed all stored procs to pass in an xml parameter with all the original parameter values. never mind the expense of the open xml code, i put out a short paper on what happens with the optimizer in this event

April 1, 2008 4:55 PM

nahidy said:

John - I loved the post! But, that was no fooling.

May 5, 2008 11:59 PM
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About John Paul Cook

John Paul Cook is a database and Azure specialist in Houston. He previously worked as a Data Platform Solution Architect in Microsoft's Houston office. Prior to joining Microsoft, he was a SQL Server MVP. He is experienced in SQL Server and Oracle database application design, development, and implementation. He has spoken at many conferences including Microsoft TechEd and the SQL PASS Summit. He has worked in oil and gas, financial, manufacturing, and healthcare industries. John is also a registered nurse recently completed the education to become a psychiatric nurse practitioner. Contributing author to SQL Server MVP Deep Dives and SQL Server MVP Deep Dives Volume 2. Connect on LinkedIn

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