The Programmer’s Toolbox

In the February, 1992 issue of Embedded Systems Programming, a new column,  Programmer’s Toolbox, was introduced. The name was not chosen at random: The intent of  the column is to provide useful tools and techniques that readers can apply to their own  problems in embedded systems development. The idea is to have a library of reusable  modules. written in several languages, that others can use to avoid re-invention of the wheel  and improve their productivity and software quality. In this paper, I’ll describe the thoughts  behind the column. the software tools that have already been presented, the ones yet to come,  and the ultimate goal of the effort. A successful effort will require support from the user  community. Part of the message of this paper is a plea for help and feedback.

What is software? Some say it’s an art, some a craft, some an engineering discipline, and  some a science. There are even those who want to tum the act of software development into  an automated, rote process like baking bread or smelting iron … the Japanese concept of the  Software Factory. I don’t think that’s ever going to happen. Compare the history of  software to that of, say, gunmaking. Before Eli Whitney introduced mass production to that  industry, and helped begin the industrial revolution in America, every gun was custom built,  hand-crafted by a master. Today, software is in that state: It’s a craft, and it requires  craftsmanship.

Presented at Embedded Systems Conference 1993 in Santa Clara

Click below to download the paper
ESC_1993_Vol1_Page91_Crenshaw_The Programmer’s Toolbox.pdf