When we look around today we see the huge changes that have been introduced by computers and information technology. These technologies have in common their reliance on software and computer code. This book introduces the subject of software studies, which explicitly researches and tries to understand the emergence of software technologies. Theoretical work on software and code is very exciting and there has been some notable work produced. This book introduces and explores some of the major figures who are thinking about software and explains what their contribution is. But it also seeks to introduce empirical methods of working with both software and code.
The first task of software studies is to define its research object. This is complicated by the fact that software has a dual life as computer code and software. Secondly we need to understand its specific features in terms of its processing, that is, software does things. Software exists as apps and applications that can be ‘read’ through a number of different methods. Code is usually textual, as source code, and can be read as text to understand the underlying logic of the software. Writing software requires both an understanding of code and the ability to create and manipulate it textually as source code. Code requires very careful writing, the smallest errors or mistakes will stop it from working and bugs can be introduced which cause instabilities. Writing is therefore a practiced skill. Building software requires that a coder stands back and considers the whole to be able to put the code together (sometimes with images and sounds). It also requires that an understanding of how it will be used and distributed to users is kept in mind.
This book explores how critical approaches can be useful to the study of software and code. This includes not only critical readings of code or software as close readings but also critical software approaches that create code that can be used to circumvent, adapt and hack code functionality in interesting ways.
Title: Software Studies: Theory and Practice
Author: David M. Berry
Format: Apple iBooks