The Gilligan Factor

It has been suggested (tongue in cheek) that if there were a patron saint of software engineers, the honor would fall on none other than Gilligan, the character in the pervasively popular American television show of the 1960s, Gilligans Island. Gilligan is the enigmatic, sneaker-clad first mate, widely held to be responsible for the shipwreck that stranded the now-residents of the island.

To be sure, Gilligans situation seems oddly familiar. Stranded on a desert island with only the most meager of modern technological comforts, Gilligan and his cohorts must resort to scratching out a living using the resources naturally available. In episode after episode, we observe the Professor developing exquisitely intricate tools for doing the business of life on their remote island, only to be foiled in the implementation phase by the ever-bungling Gilligan.

But clearly it was never poor Gilligans fault. How could one possibly be expected to implement designs for such sophisticated applications as home appliances and telecommunications devices, given the rudimentary technologies available in such an environment? He simply lacked the proper tools. For all we know, Gilligan may have had the capacity for engineering on the grandest level. But you can get there with bananas and coconuts.

And pathologically, time after time, Gilligan wound up inadvertently sabotaging the best of the Professors plans; misusing, abusing, and eventually destroying his inventions. If he could just pedal his makeshift stationary bicycle faster and faster (he was led to believe), all would be well. But in the end, inevitably, the coconuts were sent hurling into the air, the palm branches came crashing down around his head, and poor Gilligan was blamed once again for the failure of the technology.

Dramatic though this image may be, some observers would consider it a striking metaphor for the software industry. Like Gilligan, we software engineers are often asked to perform tasks with arguably inappropriate tools. Like Gilligan, our intentions are sound, but technology can hold us back. And like poor Gilligan, we inevitably must bear the brunt of managements wrath when our systems are delivered behind schedule. You can get there with bananas and coconuts . . .


Introducing Python

Part I: System Interfaces

System Tools

Parallel System Tools

Larger System Examples I

Larger System Examples II

Part II: GUI Programming

Graphical User Interfaces

A Tkinter Tour, Part 1

A Tkinter Tour, Part 2

Larger GUI Examples

Part III: Internet Scripting

Network Scripting

Client-Side Scripting

Server-Side Scripting

Larger Web Site Examples I

Larger Web Site Examples II

Advanced Internet Topics

Part IV: Assorted Topics

Databases and Persistence

Data Structures

Text and Language

Part V: Integration

Extending Python

Embedding Python

VI: The End

Conclusion Python and the Development Cycle

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Programming Python
Python Programming for the Absolute Beginner, 3rd Edition
ISBN: 1435455002
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2000
Pages: 245
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