Complexity is an increasingly difficult hurdle for software developers to overcome, according to Rational Software chief scientist Grady Booch.
Yet developers are called on to build applications for users who want this complexity hidden, he said in a presentation at the IBM developerWorksLive conference.
Web services technologies make it possible to build systems that are accessible to a larger community "than we could have conceived of in the past", Booch said.
But the reality for all software developers is that complexity is increasing, with applications needing to be more distributed and secure, he said.
Developers must cope with building systems on top of operating systems and other systems with millions of lines of code. But they have to create an illusion of simplicity, with users wanting to hide technology, Booch said.
Technology is limited by factors such as the laws of physics and software, the challenges of algorithms, distribution problems, economics, politics, and the limits of human imagination, according to Booch. Additionally, developers must adapt legacy systems for new applications as well as do new development.
"In short, we are building continuously evolving systems that we can never turn off," he said.
"I must remind you again that software development remains a very, very hard thing. There's no silver bullet here," Booch said.