Since the beginning of software development which was somewhere in the late 1940s, various software types have gone through many stages of evolution. It has evolved steadily throughout the ages and applications of various software types have reached heights that were not thought to be possible.
One important factor that boosted the development of software throughout the ages was that new and improved computers were coming out into the market at an unprecedented rate. The development of computer hardware technology demanded that the software be as good, fast and reliable as the hardware itself. During the early ages, a computer was not built to sit on top of a desk; rather they were huge machines and did not have the speed or the reliability of modern computers. The need for faster, more reliable and smaller computers was felt throughout the computing world. As time went on computers began to shrink in size but expanded in speed, reliability and performance. With the introduction of better hardware technology, software developed into new heights. These new software were not only reliable and fast, they were user-friendly too. Hardware vendors gave away system software for free, as hardware could not be sold without the proper software.
Software engineering is a rather relative term when we consider the word "engineering". The first appearance of the two words came about in the 1950s. Many have heard the words civil, computer and electrical engineering, but how engineering actually related to software was a mystery.
The basic problem software engineers had was that one could not see a physical development in the software. It was all done virtually or on paper. So it was a little difficult to develop software without a proper model. The NATO Science Committee sponsored two major software conferences, one in 1968 and the other in 1969. These conferences gave the initial boost required for software engineering and many mark these events as the "official birth period" of software engineering.
The 1960s, 70s and 80s brought about the so called software crisis. This time period highlighted many of the problems in software development. Many software projects ran over budget or over schedule. Many software companies either closed down or were bought over by other software companies. Initially the software crisis was defined in terms of productivity, but later it turned out to be defined in terms of quality. This time frame became a very bumpy road for software developers and engineers. Eventually the hard work of many software companies paid off and reviled the path towards a brighter future of software engineering.
With the start of the nineteen-hundreds came a never before seen phenomenon called the Internet. The World Wide Web brought out opportunities like never before. Many programmers were hired to maintain websites, which involved handling illustrations, maps, photographs, simple animations, creating and maintaining personal accounts and web spaces, and so many other requirements which needed an alarming amount of programmers. The 21st century brought out some of the best programmers and programs of all time. Software became user friendly and easy to use. Programmers were looking for easier and better ways to write down codes. Life for both the software engineer and the end user became much, much easier.
Software engineering has come a long way since it was first introduced. Many software engineers might even smell like smoke because they have been through fire and come out into the world to make a bang. Software engineering has truly changed the way how we, as end users and the developers themselves, see and experience the world.
Summery: This article highlights the history of software development, how it came through many down-hills and upheavals to what it is today, a truly magnificent creation that changed the lifestyles of many.