A Brief History of Software Development – Part 1

Please Note: This article is a starting point towards better understanding the field of software development. In no way do I believe that I can accurately portray the complete history of software development. I hope that, OVER TIME, I can add to this article in an iterative approach towards telling the story of software development. So please bear with me as I attempt at telling the story.

Sometimes as we are seeking to better understand a particular subject, it is helpful to explore the history of the subject at hand. When it comes to the topic of software development or development, there are a few clear distinctions which can be made. It is helpful to look at each of these movements in history which came about and the context of software for the particular time period.

Origins of Computer Science and Early Computer Software

There is software development whose origin predates the internet and the rise of modern personal computers. This includes the foundations of computer programming languages, the formalization of software development as it has come to be known. This includes algorithms, computer graphics, data structures, structure programming or object oriented programming to name just a few.

Important Events or Movements

The topics below are key events in history which deserve proper attention or study. I will attempt to provide support links to supplement this article.

The Apollo Mission, Bundled and Packaged Software, Unix, Personal Computers aka Microcomputers

A good strating point for researching these events would be the History of Software.

The Internet Revolution

It is easy to think of development soley in terms of the internet and technologies which came about with the rise of the internet. Today, this is perhaps the most common entrance into the field of development for the vast majority of software developers. I believe the Internet revolution created a new group of software developers, which did not exist prior to the movement. The underlying technologies at the rise of the internet were largely limited to HTML, early CSS, and JavaScript. As companies and organizations of all sizes realized that the Internet was a movement, they rushed to become a part of what was called the World Wide Web(WWW), or the Web for short.

This new group of developers would be responsible for learning a vast array of technologies, which would define modern publishing on the internet. Out of this field, new specialties would emerge, which we now know as Web DesignSearch Engine Optimization(SEO), Frontend Web DevelopmentBackend Web Development, and Database Administration to name just a few.

This new group of web workers now make up a significant field, which stems from initially what was the role of a web developer. The explosion of the internet created several specialties that did not exist prior to the rise of the internet. Database Administrators are one exception that did exist before the internet’s rise to prominence.

While the majority of readers will focus on the technologies stemming from web development, there are large topics that we have not covered, such as the rise of mobile computing. In the second part of this article, I will discuss mobile computing and how this field is perhaps a second part of the rise of the Internet.

If you have something to add that I have missed, please feel free to find me on social media.


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