[Haskell-cafe] Maybe off-topic -- Writing contracts or software specifications

Henning Thielemann lemming at henning-thielemann.de
Fri Apr 10 19:01:50 EDT 2009

On Wed, 8 Apr 2009, Maurí­cio wrote:

> Hi,
> I'm an engineer, and as a programmer I'm just an amateur.
> This easied things to me, since I could take decisions about
> practices based on what made sense to me.  But now I need
> to take responsability for some formal programming tasks,
> and I don't know which examples to follow.
> I need, for instance, to write a contract with a programmer
> we are hiring for a task. But the only example I have of
> such contracts seemed to me (as I said, an amateur. I may be
> completely wrong) impractical. It was a 150 pages document
> with every possible user action and every imaginable allowed
> consequences. But it would be easier to me write the software
> than such contract itself.

I think such a contract won't help you, because after writing and using 
the software, you will always find things, that you now like to do 
different from what you wrote into the contract. I think the best to do is 
to divide the project into small pieces. If the programmer is not the 
right one, this should turn out after the first piece and you can try 
another one. I don't expect that you can turn an inappropriate programmer 
into a better one using a tight contract.

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