An article in New York Times today presents and discusses what is seen as a new application for collaboration using computers. This application is similar to what has been around in academic settings for experiments for many years and has been tested and studied over and over again for functionality, usability and usefulness. I wonder how many research articles and papers have been written and published about this type of application. At the same time, what has the contribution of this research been? Now, maybe ten, fifteen, years later, some of the functions of these experimental applications can be found in commercial software. Did the academic studies contribute to the development? Should it? (And if, what should the purpose be?)
This opens up for so many questions concerning the purpose and meaning of testing and evaluation of software. I truly believe that the field has to devote time and reflection to these questions. A mature academic field should have a developed understanding of its place in the big picture, and the big picture here is the overall development of technology.