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The difference between dogs and software

The previous weekend had its share of driving as we travelled from Stockholm to Billund in Denmark. While driving, I sometimes play mind games and this time I thought about dogs and software. Not how dogs respond to software but rather how similar they are.

Since I work with software and am since more than eight years the proud owner of a Golden Retriever, there is something in both dogs and software that I like. So perhaps they share similarities. So, this was the basis for my silly game. You will probably not learn something new in this post, so if you’re just into bare facts, you can just stop here. I’m still in holiday mood.

Here goes.

First we have the aspect of age. There are puppies, adult dogs and old dogs.

Puppies are cute, fluffy, funny and adorable. Who doesn’t love puppies? Well, puppies tend to make a mess. They require lots of work and you and your dog need to be trained. All the time. Just like a new application: funny and amusing but lots of work and learning. Some people just love the puppy /new software phase. Others cannot stand it.

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The adult dog is someone you’ve gotten to know well and depending on how the puppy stage was handled, the dog can now be the perfect companion or just like an overgrown puppy: making a mess and requiring a lot of work. The same goes with software: if you don’t take of the quality issues during the first period you will probably have a messy system as it grows mature.

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Then there’s the old dog. This one just loves sleeping and eating. You know what you have but chances are great that the dog is slow, have poor eye sight, don’t hear to well and is struck by breed specific diseases. And software is no different. The problems which were not handled from start are now greater than ever and at the same time the system tend to feel slower and not so responsive.

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But then there are different breeds of dogs…

First off is the Retriever. This is like Microsoft Excel. Something for everyone and people seems to think that this is something which just works, independent of how you work with it. Most people are bitten by Retrievers and I believe that too many people are bitten by Excel applications too.

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The mobile applications are the Chihuahuas of software. You can carry them where ever you go and they are something that is worn like an accessory by some owners. They tend to feel expensive to buy: you seem to get more dog for the money if you choose something else. And they tend to think that they are a much larger dog than they are. More noise than strength…

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The creative software is like the puddles. Look very nice to people who love that type but for the rest of us, they just look weird. You need to put in a large chunk of time just to keep up.

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The security programs are like Rottweiler’s. They tend to make a lot of noise and they scare the crap out of many people not used to them. They can tend to bark at most stuff so you might not even notice when the really bad guy is around.

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Large Business Applications are like a bulldog. Ugly, sturdy built but you need to get a C section just to give birth to them.

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Then there is everything Open Source. There we have the cats. But hey, that’s no dog!? Well, I said it was a silly mind game… The cat don’t live with you; you live with the cat. Many think that cats are easier and cheaper to keep and there are cat people, just like there are dog people.

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Well, this was about the time we came to Ödeshög and my husband took over the wheel. But what was the result, then, besides from me having something to think about while driving? The most important thing is that problems we have with software development and systems are not that different from other problems in life. And I should probably get back to work…

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