10 Years of Software Narratology

On 12 June, 10 years ago, we were looking for a fruitful foundation for software trace and log analysis beyond a sequence of memory fragments. Coincidently and unconnectedly, at that time, we were learning about narratology from some literary theory textbooks. Then we got an insight about similarities between storytelling and logging. Structures of traditional narrative and their narrative analysis could also guide in devising new trace and log analysis patterns. Thus, Software Narratology was born. Here we reproduce the original blog post screenshot from Software Diagnostics Library:

In a couple of years after that we were contacted by people who were writing software for narratology, so we promptly (in February 2012) decided to organize a webinar to clear the confusion between Software Narratology and narratology software. Here is the webinar logo we designed at that time (colors symbolize kernel, user, and managed memory spaces):

The recording of this webinar is available on YouTube, and slides are available for download. The transcript of that webinar was later published as a short book which is available in various formats. Volume 7 of Memory Dump Analysis Anthology has a section devoted to diverse topics in Software Narratology partially covered in that webinar. Additional Software Narratology articles are available in subsequent volumes. Reflecting on that history, we think the glimpses of Software Narratology also originated with our earlier thinking about historical narratives in the context of memory dump analysis (March 2009).

After a year, we applied software narratological thinking to malware analysis (March 2013): Malware Narratives, with available slides, recording, and published transcript in various formats.

In subsequent years the following ideas were further discovered, invented, and elaborated:

Despite the move to contemporary mathematics as a source of new trace and log analysis patterns in the recent years, Software Narratology experiences its second revolution through the application of Future Narratives* to diagnostic analysis and debugging processes (Bifurcation Point, Polytrace) and the following forthcoming developments:

  • Software Narratives as software "autobiographies."
  • Cartesian Software Narratives (Cartesian Trace).
  • Incorporation of source code into trace analysis via Moduli Traces. We called this originally (June 2013) Generative Software Narratology.

*Future Narratives: Theory, Poetics, and Media-Historical Moment, by Christoph Bode, Rainer Dietrich (ISBN: 978-3110272123)