The digital economy is expanding faster and faster. This results from recurrent advances in information technology (IT). There is a virtuous circle such that, in turn, more and more (often unpredictable) innovative usages boost IT. These usages are social and, in a broad sense, economical. More generally, the impact of IT on business is immense nowadays.
In this dynamical context, two decades ago software became the premier economy sector in terms of revenue. Substantial overturning occurred: the progress and multiplication of operating systems (LINUX, Windows, OS X, etc.) and associated product lines (e.g. mobile variants), the development and increasing re(use) of opensource software, outsourcing in developing countries, etc. United States and Europe tried to keep their advanced positioning through “differential software engineering”: inventing new programming languages like Java or C#, new software development approaches like agile development, model-driven development (MDD), new software architecture paradigms like service-oriented architecture (SOA) and related middleware like Java Enterprise Edition (Java EE) or .NET and new computing paradigms like mobile computing, cloud computing or Internet computing as the superset of all modern computing paradigms.
However, a great paradox persists, as technological entry costs, human involvement, the acquisition of new technologies and take-up initiatives, etc., are not easily and straightforwardly controllable. In other words, the great majority of people and teams in software development continue to use “old” technologies. First, a very good reason for this is that information systems on the top of these cannot be thrown overboard. Second, development hides maintenance. Challenges relate to software evolution not to software creation, especially from scratch. Seacord in [SEA 02] highlights this point as follows: “For large enterprise systems, a strategy of design for evolvability is a need. This approach does not distinguish between development and maintenance; maintenance is simply continued product development”.
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