Quality of Software Is Getting Worse, Not Better (2018)

2018For many years now the theme for all my conference talks has been “Improving Code Quality, One Developer at a Time™”. My only goal with my sessions for the foreseeable future is all wrapped around this idea for these reasons I will discuss.

First, as a contractor, the code that I see is for the most part is very bad, including architecture. On a resent project, I worked on, when I analyzed their code, I found over 15K code violations, another solution has over 65K violations! This is unacceptable especially when management will never give you the time and resources to fix them. Ship it! Unfortunately, this attitude will just come back to bite them in the future and cost A LOT more to fix. They will lose even more money due to customers bailing and going to a competitor (something I describe in detail in one of my books).

Second, software I use is getting more and more frustrating, if it even works at all. This includes Visual Studio, Windows and apps, iPhone OS and apps, web sites and more. I think the older I get the less patience I have especially since I’m a software engineer and I know how software should work. Most of my complaints to me are common sense and not that hard to implement.

These two tweet sums up my feelings:

  • I’m always amazed how little effort companies put into quality software. Just keep putting band-aids on bad code/architecture.
  • Most companies I’ve done programming for view security as not required unless something happens.

Years ago, I found out that most companies help you if you tweet what you have found, since tweets are public.

Web Sites/ Browsers

  • Computers are getting faster and faster… then why do web sites get slower and slower??
  • I found a Microsoft site that does not support Live accounts or special char’s in passwords!
  • If I can see it (search box etc.) I should be able to use it. Fix your JavaScript loading!
  • LinkedIn, why can’t users output their profile to a great looking resume?
  • com, don’t get me started about their mobile app!! Website needs work too.
  • Microsoft Edge is useless on slow Wi-Fi connections. Fire Fox works fine.
  • Site that immediately display a popup when I go to their site REALLY irritates me?
  • Why do I have to create a login just to submit a resume for a job?
  • Why when I have 100Mbps download at home, web sites are still so damn slow?!?!

Office

  • Forces you to install apps you might not want to use, leading to eating up hard drive.
  • All Office apps should practice parity when it comes to short-cut keys etc. Even more important between Windows and Mac Office apps.
  • OneDrive continuously has issues figuring out recent photos on an iPhone which has led to months that I could not backup photos.
  • OneNote, does not allow tags to be synced to logged-in account.
  • OneNote, have you tested iPhone app with LTE signal? It tries to sync and then just disappears.
  • Outlook does not mine for email address to auto-load list from emails. Need this when I rebuild a computer.
  • PowerPoint does not seem to have kept up with technology. Seems pretty much the same as in the 90’s here are just some of what I have been complaining about for many years, even to Office PM’s at Microsoft which seems to have gone on deaf ears:
    • Audio fade-out doesn’t work. Can’t control audio volume in effects either.
    • Can’t link videos to slides so they don’t add to the file size and save time.
    • Can’t move animations from to template anymore (use to work before a recent update).
    • Can’t replace a picture or video which means when I do I have to reapply styles, position and animation! Arrgh!
    • Can’t setup defaults for effects (settings)
    • On Windows 10 on my Surface 3, it can take close to 5 minutes to save one of my slide decks. Same deck on the MAC takes just a few seconds.
    • Pictures and videos can’t have a keyed-out color
    • Videos can’t be made as the background. If I put a video as a background, the Morphed effect causes PowerPoint to just disappear.
  • Someday, I hope to figure out how to create groups in Outlook on Windows 10!!
  • When I’m working on a new edition of one of my books, I can often be heard cursing Microsoft Word! It’s terrible formatting docs to print as a book and even worse for the ePub format.
  • When Office apps do an auto-save, it can lock up my computer for up to five minutes. Rebuilt my computer and still happens.

Visual Studio

  • Analyze does not work with .NET Core and Standard projects!!! Neither does IntelliTests.
  • Can’t create test settings file anymore.
  • Code generators do not even pass Visual Studio’s own analytics tools. Can’t ignore these files.
  • Creating service references seems to not work anymore with modern web service technologies.
  • Documentation keeps getting worse, not better. Especially for Azure.
  • New versions of the framework should be available in ClickOnce the same day as Visual
    Studio does.
  • I’ve been programming long enough to sill remember the pain of DLL hell. Now I feel I’m in NuGet Package hell!
  • Missing NuGet template for ALL project types.
  • Running an app as administrator is too difficult.
  • Still does not auto increment project version number.
  • Why isn’t all of Mads Kristensen (from Microsoft) extensions built into Visual Studio?
  • Workflow… where is it???

Azure

  • Am I the only one who Azure changes publish profiles without notification? All of a sudden, every x months my profile just stops working.
  • Anyone having an issue with Azure web jobs not hitting Task.Delay in WebJobsShutdownWatcher code block after Visual Studio 2015 Update 2?
  • Documentation is awful and sometimes completely missing.
  • Does not support latest versions of .NET when released.
  • It’s becoming harder and harder for non-devops to manage services. Took me 2 weeks and five calls from an engineer just to create a new virtual machine and virtual disks!

Windows

  • Reboots to apply an update WHILE YOU ARE WORKING ON THE COMPUTER!

Apple

  • Apple forces users to use apps on iPhone like Maps. No way to change it. Many more apps you have no control over.
  • Apple removed the ability to rate songs on my iPhone. I contacted them and they said it only works with Apple Music. What?? They moved a feature like this to be paid only. Very bad on their part. Oh, they said it works with Siri, but that is pretty hard to do when I’m bored in an airplane.
  • Apple, why can’t I disable embedding GPS coordinates in photos taken with my iPhone?? This a big security issue.
  • As a software dev, I think it’s a sin to force users to pay for a basic feature that use to be free!!

Adobe

  • Parity in their Cloud products! Very frustrating.

AWS

  • SOOOOOO many issues when it comes to .NET. Too many to list. My recommendation is to just avoid it with most projects.

Miscellaneous

  • Most software/ web teams DO NOT account for color-blind users. There are over 3 million worldwide.
  • Netflix needs to go back to the drawing room on its iPhone app episode downloads! Need to learn how to multi-threading better!!! Doesn’t delete automatically watches sessions or downloaded sessions that are no longer viewable.
  • The EPUB format does not work with code or math/ scientific equations.
  • Wait times in the TSA iPhone app are useless when someone can be 20 miles away and post a wait time.
  • Warning all Surface 3 owners, WebEx kept crashing my machine and was unusable. I got the blue screen of death!

Here are some previous blogs posts on this subject:

So, what are you frustrated about? Please let me know via a comment.

6 thoughts on “Quality of Software Is Getting Worse, Not Better (2018)

  1. My biggest frustration right now? There are no design reviews for the government software project I am working on. The whole thing, 12 independent projects coupled together as one, is just DIY. No common class interfaces, no common libraries, 3 DALs, and criticism / issues not allowed. No peer review either; well, until later this month when every developer will now spend a day per week reviewing past code that can’t be easily changed. This will end bad.

  2. The vendors are chasing the quick buck and lowest cost immediate profit. The customers want everything, with candy coating, yesterday, for free.
    No one takes the long view. The sales people say they can’t sell that because someone else will promise the customer free beer and a rose garden to drink it in, and the management reminds us how much we enjoy getting paid on a regular basis.
    Meanwhile, the users are dissatisfied with low quality and break/fix cycles that take longer than the original estimate which (of course) was way too high, and projects that end up costing more and taking longer than if everyone had just taken their time, spent the damn money, and done it right the first time.
    In a nutshell, they could have done it for 2x without the frustration, but end up spending 3x + all the frustration because they insisted that it be done for 1x and the vendor said ‘OK’ because we like having the lights stay on.

    Where is this taking us, ultimately? How does it end?

    1. I should have mentioned that my generic anecdote is cyclic. I see it happen over and over with project after project. Been in the software engineering business for over 25 years. I’m getting paid, but the thrill is gone. Don’t even get me started on the flat/monochromatic UI thing and marketing managers with art degrees calling the shots for R&D.

      I quit a job once after a sales manager would often go to new customers, sell them a system with mods, come back and tell me about it, and I’d say “I don’t even know their business, and I don’t have a full set of requirements. That looks like a 6 month project.” He’d say, “I told them you could do it in 3. Just do it ‘down and dirty’.” He said “just do it down and dirty” one too many times.

      1. I feel your pain. I once worked at a company for 4.5 years and never even meet one of the sales people. They would get contracts signed with fixed delivery dates WITHOUT TALKING TO ANYONE IN DEVELOPMENT!

        I’ve been trying to change this with the overall theme of all my conference talks to “Improving Code Quality… One Developer At A Time”. But, since I did this over 4 years ago, I have had been snubbed by all of the major conferences. Conferences only want to have the “new shiny thing” sessions that they think sell tickets. I think it’s one of their duties to educate developers on these subjects too.

        So far, in 2018, only one conference has accepted my sessions and that conference is in India! Maybe they care more than American developers? Due to this struggle with conferences is one of the reasons I’m calling my 2018 conference tour “The World Farewell Tour”, since I’m tired of not being accepted at conferences…. even free ones like Code Camp!!

        One would think that after all this time that software development has been around, things would get better, but they have only gotten worse. One of the reasons is that companies do not want experienced developers, only the inexperienced cheaper ones.

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