Auto tools reduce software quality

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Auto tools reduce software quality

Cliff Saran

Software quality is being affected by users putting too much trust in automatic code-generation tools and too few organisations taking the ISO 9000 quality certification, a report has found.

Analyst company Meta Group, found in its 2004 worldwide IT benchmark report that there was a strong correlation between software developer productivity tools and defect rates. The report was based on a survey of 304 organisations in 31 countries representing 24 industry sectors.

Meta analyst Mark Raphael said, "If you want to deploy a business-critical system you cannot rely on automatic code-generation tools."

Raphael said such tools were extremely competent at generating basic code, but code generators were no substitute for human programmers. "Code generators do not produce clean code. You still require developers to design, program and test applications."

Meta compared software quality in industry sectors by examining the number of errors per 1,000 lines of code. It found that defect rates per 1,000 lines of code post-implementation were 0.8 in the banking sector. Education had a defect rate of 0.33, government applications were 0.69, and manufacturing had an error rate of 0.8 per 1,000 lines of code.

Meta also found that 80% of respondents were not ISO 9000 certified. ISO 9000 is a standard that sets out policies to ensure a high level of quality.


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