Home » Applications and Societies Similarities: The First Woodpecker to Come Along Didn’t Destroy the Civilization

Applications and Societies Similarities: The First Woodpecker to Come Along Didn’t Destroy the Civilization

by Mirela Lazar
13 minutes read
Society and apps similarities

In the interconnected web of our modern world, applications serve as the digital societies we inhabit. As we examine the striking analogies between the processes of societal resilience and the work of software projects, we can identify some lessons.

Nowadays, applications are the virtual realm to which we belong. Similar to how real physical cities are home to communities of different people, digital applications become a container of virtual realms where users meet, socialize, and build their own experiences. And just as civilizations have overcome storms, adjusted, and blossomed, software projects also face difficulties, evolve, and do their bit in building up to progress. 

Starting from this analogy and investigating it further, this article will analyze how apps reflect society’s mechanisms and transform the way we live.

Applications are Digital Societies

Digital Neighborhoods

Like communities – which vary in nature – applications have their unique specifications, residents, and culture. The social media applications are like mini-town squares, whereby they provide a place where people are free to talk as they wish. E-commerce apps are like the nowadays markets, where the trading is done quickly. In the same way that a neighborhood is successful when it meets the basic needs of the residents, the application that serves users by addressing their specific requirements tends to be successful. It could be the case of a fitness app that gets to track your daily steps or a language learning platform that connects learners all over the world; applications produce digital spaces where users find their place.

Governance and Rules

For the societies, the administration institutions are critical in keeping the peace and justice. Also, apps establish and regulate rules – privacy policies, Terms of Service, and community guidelines. Traffic rules for cities are similar to applications rules and guidelines to maintain user conduct. Developers, in turn, play the role of architects, and they do this by making these digital places. The success of the app hinges upon the balance between freedom and security. As the residents, we travel on these digital roads, make decisions about living arrangements, keep or break the set rules and sometimes discover the nearby territories. We can go a step further and state that in the same way a city establishes new roads, applications introduce new flows based on usage patterns. Applications, similarly, through user feedback, technical advancements, and shifting requirements, keep changing. Trust, transparency, and inclusivity are good building blocks for our digital societies to function properly.

Empires Fall vs Applications Refactor

From days of yore, empires have emerged, ruled, and, in the end, fallen victim to the circumstances. The glamour and riches of Rome, the luxury and despotic power of the Ottoman Empire, and the might of the British Commonwealth – all are dead now. What lessons are there from these collapsed colossi? 

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Resilience and Adaptability

The empires that were able to survive were those that learned to be more flexible and adjust to the changing conditions. In addition, software apps are constantly in an ever-changing environment. Ancient empires, like legacy systems, owe a lot of technical debt. Rewriting—changing the structure of the code without affecting its external behavior—is thus also necessary. In the same way as empires needed visionaries to make the right decision, applications need talented developers to refactor the code. With technical debt being addressed, it is possible for the digital age applications to continue to flourish.

Legacy and Continuity

Even the empires left legacies – architecture, art, and culture. Also, similar to applications, they possess their legacy code. Refactoring preserves continuity. Likewise, in the same way, historians study ancient books, developers investigate legacy codes. Through refactoring, we keep the essence of the application being updated while preserving its history. Empires lost their power, but the legacy lives on. Software applications get designed, making sure that they stand the test of time and even partake in the growth of the digital world.

Strategic Choices

Refactoring applications mirrors empire-building. Developers select the origin point of the application – the user interface, business logic, or data layer. Start with the database or UI, and you may win a quick battle but not address the root cause of this problem. Similarly to empires, applications also need top-down strategy redesign. The idea of splitting up monolithic databases resembles the idea of cutting up the business logic. Through the union of microservices and the individual databases, the application is achieved in terms of balance.

Global Impact

World history was forged by empires; digital society is shaped by application. Refactoring is a tool that makes an application lasting, as dynasties do. The scope of AI and robotics research in developing countries encompasses more than the borders. Smarter development is the war against time—the same process empires have undergone from rise to fall. Let us smartly recode in a way that our digital societies are not just surviving but flourishing, a trick we may have learned from the bygone empires.

Bureaucracy vs Complexity

Two formidable forces – bureaucracy and complexity – shape the destiny of projects much like societal dynamics influence the fate of civilizations.

Bureaucracy: The Silent Sentinel

We often hear how bureaucracy is a thorn in the side of lives, and it is the very system that harbors societies.The same way as in the case of government that builds up rules, hierarchies and processes to steer towards orderly status quo, similarly software projects are faced with the issue of bureaucratic layers. Instances like project managers, documentation, and approval workflows imitate the structure of society. The red tape is an important tool of the bureaucracy: it guarantees consistency and compliance. However, when there is too much of it, it puts creativity and agility in a certain way. Getting the balance right: eliminating an overly bureaucratic framework without killing off risk-taking is a very vital step.  

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Complexity: The Uncharted Terrain

Societies grapple with complexity – globalization, cultural diversity, and technological shifts. On the other hand, software development is a complex affair, which includes complicated hardware dependencies, dynamic software requirements, and changing technological landscapes. Complexity isn’t inherently negative; it’s the fabric of progress. Similarly to the way that societies are able to adapt to a broad range of connected challenges, software projects undergo an evolution process. 

One of the main problems with software complexity is that it manifests itself in the form of complex code, integrated modules, and behaviors that emerge. In just the same way the societies strive for a balance between tradition and innovation, the technologists look not only for legacy systems but also for up-to-date technologies. 

In applications, a component handles a single type of task, similar to different specialists in society. Specialization and compartmentalization are what allow both offices and components to be independent and to function efficiently.

The solution would be for the offices to exchange data; this, however, brings its own challenges. For example how do you ensure all offices are brought up to date at the same time? You could create an office to supervise, but won’t that just increase the system and add latency?

Laws vs Validations

Laws and validations play distinct yet complementary roles, much like the delicate balance between societal regulations and individual freedoms.

Laws: The Governing Framework

Laws serve as society’s bedrock, defining rights, responsibilities, and boundaries. Just as legal systems ensure order and justice, software projects adhere to their own set of laws. These “coding laws” encompass industry standards, security protocols, and best practices. In software, laws manifest as design principles, coding guidelines, and architectural patterns. Just as citizens respect traffic rules, developers follow SOLID principles, DRY (Don’t Repeat Yourself) coding, and other laws of software design.

Validations: Ensuring Compliance

Validations in society confirm authenticity – verifying identities, licenses, and qualifications. Similarly, software validations ensure correctness. Just as passports validate citizenship, input validations verify data integrity. Software validations encompass data integrity checks, business rules, and consistency verifications. By enforcing rules, we prevent chaos and maintain system health.

Users vs Population

While societies have members, applications have users. The bigger the society, the more likely it is for some people to encounter unpleasant situations. Likewise, the more users are in an app, the more likely it is for unexpected scenarios to occur.

Just as societies work within the legal framework articulating the rights, responsibilities, and boundaries, applications follow their own “coding” laws. These digital laws cover industry standards, security procedures, best practices, and so on. This is the responsibility of the software architect, who works as a vigilant legislator, ensuring compliance with these rules. Whether it’s data privacy regulations or coding conventions, applications function within this legal context, safeguarding users and systems.

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User Inputs as Validations

In communities, validations reflect realities, which authenticate some identities, licenses, and/or qualifications. Not unlike that, software validations confirm the correctness. Rigorous validation of user inputs – for instance, email address validation, form submissions validation, or API request validation – eliminates the mess and maintains the system’s strength. Through the establishment and maintenance of regulations, applications are able to improve dependability and convenience.


In society we have dedicated teams and specialized people tasked with handling and judging unforeseen events or help where there is the need. Likewise applications have their own support users systems that is enabling users to overcome a blockage. Both of these exist to help when someone is stuck.

Time vs Time

In the intricate dance between human societies and digital realms, time plays a dual role—a silent conductor orchestrating expectations and outcomes.

Perception and Expectations

Waiting is strangely paradoxical, developers and people alike. Picture yourself queuing at the government office, hoping that the clerks would sign your request. Ten minutes become an endless expanse, though we smile and think that we are the luckiest ones. Contrast this with the digital realm: waiting for half a minute for the web page to be loaded, and this already makes us switch the app in rage. Why this discrepancy?Perception. The pace of time is dynamic. We are getting more and more critical about the fast pace of life we live in and expect the same from our applications. We want responses that are comparable to teleportation speed.

Metamorphosis and Velocity

The societies and applications are separate in their evolutionary speed. While nations and cultures change over years and decades, apps develop in a short time. Picture a software structure where change is the pulse. Apps change and adapt their “face” at least two to three times a year. Meanwhile, the societies crawl as their transformations are similar to the geological eras. The digital canvas is all about quick strokes, while social changes are very slow. The beat of transition, yet unique but at the same time harmonious, highlights the interaction between the human presence and the code that reflects it. 

Societies and Apps Harmony

As we look closer into the similarities and differences between these two, the Weinberg’s Second Law echoes through: “If builders built buildings the way programmers wrote programs, then the first woodpecker that came along would destroy civilization”.

Applications similar to communities where human beings are always present, pulsate with life. They create the digital realms in which customers, users, and other stakeholders come together. No wonder applications, as well as society, are alive, developing, and failing. Their purpose is not to achieve perfection but to adjust and adapt. In fact, perfection as a destination is nothing but a frozen mirage that keeps moving in a dynamic environment.

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