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Yesterday, a group of investors featuring Justin Timberlake (no not Sean Parker) purchased Myspace for 6% of what it was purchased for in 2005. There has been a lot of finger pointing in trying to assign blame for its Icarian-like fall to its founders, to its News Corp. inserted leadership, or even to Rupert Murdoch’s pursuit of the Wall Street Journal. Nevertheless, Myspace served as one of the seminal cogs that propelled social networking to a key component of today’s social interactions.
So what does this have to do with embedded development?
Well today, not a whole lot…but already more than you think.
Developers have obviously been putting comments and annotations in code for years to provide sufficient context to colleagues looking to interpret their code. We have also seen a number of companies establish forums and wikis to elicit feedback on their products and promote new feature development. You could even think about the open source movement as one giant social networking experiment.
So we can all agree that it is not a leap of faith to declare collaboration as a key component of software and embedded systems development. We have also previously discussed the growing role of Agile development in the embedded market. As more organizations experiment with and adopt Agile and other iterative development methodologies, which call for repeated feedback cycles and are often accompanied by multiple changes in requirements, the need for tools and technologies that can promote high levels of collaboration and individual accountability only becomes more critical.
As we all know, engineers are not always the most open individuals to changes in their tools and methodologies - nor are some embedded system manufacturers for that matter. However, more and more engineers are entering the workforce that have lived and breathed Facebook and social media as one of their primary forms of communication. In order to maximize relevancy (and appeal) to this next generation of developers and methodologies, it only makes sense that tool vendors should also position their products to support this type of interaction, both to support real-time collaboration as well as to promote the development of dedicated ecosystems of users.