Software Development: For Experts Only?

by Corinne S. Bernstein, Asst. News Ed.; Civil Engineering—ASCE, New York, N.Y.,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1984, Vol. 54, Issue 10, Pg. 60-62

Document Type: Feature article


Civil engineering firms tend to buy ready-made software rather than develop it themselves. But if existing software for specific applications is unavailable or of poor quality, then the engineering firm either writes its own from scratch or modifies existing programs. Ten to fifteen years ago, canned software for civil engineering applications was nearly nonexistent. In the 1950s and 1960s, many engineers developed their own programs to run on their then-new mainframes, but this is no longer the case. A wealth of software is now available for a variety of civil engineering applications. Engineering firms tend to develop small application programs on their own, but buy larger programs for larger projects. Both software vendors and users offer tips to avoiding disaster when buying or developing software. This includes doing preliminary research to ensure that the program performs as intended. Before buying a computer make sure that the software you need is compatible. Users and vendors also recommend comparison shopping, requesting a software demonstration from the vendor and checking to see if the program is well documented.

Subject Headings: Computer software | Engineering firms | Comparative studies

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