Software is data. Data is shapeless. We, humans, need a shape to reason about anything. Tools provide the shape of data. So, we argue that tools are essential in software engineering and we show how controlling the shape of our tools can fundamentally change our perspective on software. Specifically, we argue that every problem in software can be exhibited in a way that a human can relate to and address. We introduce moldable development as a systematic discipline of creating custom tools to capture the context of software problems, and we exemplify the message through concrete demos based on Glamorous Toolkit (gtoolkit.com).
Tudor Gîrba is a software environmentalist and co-founder of feenk.com where he works with an amazing team on Glamorous Toolkit, the moldable development environment (gtoolkit.com). He built all sorts of projects like the Moose platform for software and data analysis (moosetechnology.org), and he authored a couple of methods like humane assessment (humane-assessment.com). In 2014, he won the prestigious Dahl-Nygaard Junior Prize for his research (aito.org). This was particularly unusual as he is the only recipient of that prize that was not a university professor, even if he does hold a PhD from the University of Bern from a previous life. These days he likes to talk about moldable development.