Talk at Research Software Engineer (RSE) event: 'Here be dragons'
The project’s research software developer Christian Kroos gave a presentation at the RSE event ‘What is a Research Software Engineer?’ at the University of Surrey.
Title: Here be dragons
Research software development still has its uncharted territories. These pertain less to the resulting product - the software - than the development process itself. The availability of research software strongly influences the direction of research by offering novel data acquisition and analysis methods and by reducing the time and financial resources a researcher has to spend on the creation of software tools. Yet currently, the design process happens mostly on the fly, only taking the requirement of the task at hand into account. Guiding principles (going beyond best practices in general software development) as they are established e.g. for digital user interface design (structure principle, simplicity principle, etc.) are missing. The specific nature of research software sets it apart from other software. Particularly in engineering, research software is typically developed against the background of a fast changing research field, often enmeshed in a heterogeneous software environment and its users are likely to be highly proficient in the use of computers. In this talk I will present some considerations on research software design based on my own experiences developing research software, both as a researcher and as a research software developer.