Daily Archives: December 11, 2006

The Roman Empire: A Better Metaphor for Software Development

Two independent blog posts today made me think of The Roman Empire as a metaphor for the Windows and .NET platforms and potentially for software development as a whole. The first of the two posts was on coding standards and was actually in the form of an audio post/podcast by Darren Neimke.

Darren recalled a conversation that he had with Udhay who just joined our team on the subject of coding standards. So what has this got to do with The Roman Empire? Well while Rome did indeed conquer many territories they also absorbed a great many cultures and were greater for it. Maybe as a software development team we need to be more accepting of other cultures (coding styles) and perhaps we can learn from them and make the collective culture better. I think that is where this classic post by Chris Sells is coming from.

The other post that reminded me about The Roman Empire was Leon Bambrick’s post about how Microsoft has won the war. Leon used the Borg as another possible comparison but his post does a fantastic job and showing how .NET being extended to support different programming languages has lead to a better runtime and platform in general. I think this is The Roman Empire metaphor all over again.