Why do we say these things?
Why do computer scientists acquiesce in publishing things we know aren't right?
Take, for example, a paper in the latest JODI describing The PlumbingXJ Approach for Fast Prototyping of Web Applications. The paper looks mildly interesting, although it ignores a decade of important work in hypertext structure. But lets look at the motivation (section 3):
The use of software engineering techniques is essential for the development of hypermedia applications (Murugesan et al. 1999)
If you read and review computer science papers, you'll see homespun homilies like this all the time. I'm not unsympathetic, The only problems is: we know this is untrue.
- Lots of important and successful Web sites and hypermedia applications have been developed by people who have no background in software engineering at all.
- If you write down a list of hypermedia pioneers, how many software engineers do you find? If you write down a list of topflight Web designers, how many software engineers do you find?
- Software engineering is not the core competence of leading Web design agencies. Firms with lots of software engineering chops have not established much of a beachhead in Web design.
- As the Agile/Extreme Programming movement has called into question whether software engineering is essential for developing software, is it prudent to claim that it is essential for developing hypermedia?
- The footnote appears to offer a source of evidence to back the claim. It does not; it's entirely rhetorical.
In other words, the authors got carried away here, and the editors and peer reviewers didn't bother to check.