Intentional Software

Intentional Software

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Intentional Software is a software company that was founded by Charles Simonyi and Gregor Kiczales in 2002. Charles Simonyi, a former Microsoft employee, was one of the key architects of the Microsoft Office suite. At Intentional Software, Simonyi aimed to revolutionize the software development process by emphasizing a concept called “intentional programming”.

In Intentional Programming, the idea is to raise the level of abstraction by enabling software designers to express their intent more directly and in a domain-specific way, minimizing the “noise” of traditional programming languages. The intent is to enable non-programmers such as domain experts to participate directly in software creation. This is achieved using a high-level representation of software, and a system that can convert these high-level representations into executable code.

One way to think about Intentional Programming is as a powerful form of code generation, where the “source code” is a high-level, domain-specific representation, and the “compiler” transforms this high-level representation into traditional source code.

Intentional Software Corporation was acquired by Microsoft in April 2017. As of my knowledge cutoff in September 2021, it’s unclear exactly how Microsoft has integrated the concepts of Intentional Programming into their software development practices. However, Microsoft had expressed interest in incorporating Intentional Software’s technology into their productivity applications and other aspects of their business, possibly indicating a continued interest in high-level, domain-specific software representations.

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