Intentional Software: Definition, Examples


Intentional Software is a software technology theory and also a company founded by Charles Simonyi, former Chief Architect at Microsoft. The concept involves programming with user intention, making it possible for non-programmers to understand and contribute to the software creation process. The company, Intentional Software, aimed to boost productivity in the software industry by developing new ways for designers, domain experts, and developers to collaborate.


The phonetics of the keyword “Intentional Software” is: ɪnˌtɛnʃənəl ˈsɒftweər

Key Takeaways

Sure, here is the information in HTML numbered form:“`html

  1. Intentional Software was a company dedicated to improving the way people create and interact with software. It aimed to make software development more user-friendly and efficient by enabling people to work directly with concepts instead of code.
  2. The company was founded by Charles Simonyi, a former Microsoft executive and pioneer of “intentional programming,” a methodology that focuses on separating the problem from the implementation details.
  3. In 2017, Intentional Software was acquired by Microsoft, marking a return to the software giant for its founder. The acquisition was aimed at integrating Intentional Software’s unique technology into Microsoft’s existing solutions and enhance their office productivity tools.

“`This will present a numbered list of three key points about Intentional Software.


Intentional Software is a significant term in technology due to its innovative approach to software development. Created by Charles Simonyi, a former Microsoft executive, this concept introduces a radical shift from traditional coding methods. It focuses more on the design and intention behind the software, promoting a high-level language that lets domains experts express their ideas directly without having to go through a programmer, making the software more adaptive, precise, and reliable. The concept may lead to software that is easier to debug, maintain, and evolve as it promotes transparency and mirrors the thought processes of the developers. Thus, Intentional Software is an important concept due to its potential to revolutionize software development and enhance application efficiency and effectiveness.


Intentional Software is a technological concept rooted in simplifying the process of software creation, making it less complex and therefore more accessible to all. Its main purpose is to allow users to describe in a high-level domain-specific language what they want the software to do rather than how it should do it. It is a paradigm shift in software engineering that is intentional programming, where the focus is shifted from coding to the design of software.The uses of Intentional Software are wide-ranging. Within organizations, it can be used to refine business applications and processes exactly according to their needs, because it offers the possibility of creating custom-made software without intense coding. It paves the way for increased engagement, not only from expert developers but also from those who may not have detailed technical knowledge, but have an understanding of their specific requirements. Consequently, it is helping transform the software development landscape by evolving it into a more collaborative, purpose-driven domain.


1. Intentional Programming: Intentional Programming is a software development approach introduced by Microsoft’s Charles Simonyi around 1995. It allows developers to externalize their concepts in code more directly, thereby improving their productivity. The IP technology was basically acquired by Microsoft from Simonyi’s company, Intentional Software Corporation.2. Tableau Software: Tableau, a data visualization tool, is an example of intentional software. The company’s products are designed to allow non-technical users to create charts, graphs, and analytics from a wide range of data. The physical design and capabilities are intentional to empower even non-tech savvy people to explore their data and find meaningful insights.3. Google Maps: Google Maps is another example of intentional software, where the software is designed with the explicit intent to provide geographical information. It is developed with the intention to assist users in navigation, traffic updates, street views, and even indoor maps for complex buildings and structures. So, the technology, features, and capabilities of Google Maps all revolve around the central intention of providing location-based services.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

Q: What is Intentional Software?A: Intentional Software is a theory and a suite of software applications developed by Charles Simonyi. The main principle is to let domain experts contribute directly to software design and development, using their domain-specific knowledge and language.Q: How does Intentional Software work?A: Intentional Software works on a two-layered system. First, domain experts provide input to the system using a Domain Workbench tool. Next, the software engineers convert this domain expert input into a Program Transformation System that generates software as per the input.Q: Who is the founder of Intentional Software?A: The founder of Intentional Software is Charles Simonyi, who is well-known as the inventor of Microsoft Word and Excel.Q: What is the business model of intentional software?A: As a software development platform, Intentional Software’s business model is majorly built on license-based revenue wherein customers pay for using its software solutions. The pricing could be either one-time fee or subscription-based, depending on the deal.Q: Who can use Intentional Software?A: Intentional Software is primarily targeted at software development organizations, where domain experts and software developers work together. The model can be applied to any kind of software project, but is particularly useful where domain complexity is high.Q:, Why is it called “Intentional” Software?A: The term “Intentional” refers to the way the software is developed. Instead of writing code from scratch, developers use this technology to capture the “intentions” of the domain experts to directly affect the software’s design and development.Q: Was Intentional Software acquired by any company?A: Yes, Intentional Software was acquired by Microsoft in 2017. The main goal of the acquisition was to enhance the way teams collaborate and develop software.Q: What is the significance of Intentional Software in the software development process?A: Intentional Software allows domain experts to be part of the software development process, which could lead to a better understanding of business needs and a more effective solution. This can reduce miscommunication and increase the quality and efficiency of the software development process.

Related Tech Terms

  • Domain Workbench
  • Software Development
  • Source Code Generators
  • Programming Paradigms
  • Model-driven Engineering

Sources for More Information


About The Authors

The DevX Technology Glossary is reviewed by technology experts and writers from our community. Terms and definitions continue to go under updates to stay relevant and up-to-date. These experts help us maintain the almost 10,000+ technology terms on DevX. Our reviewers have a strong technical background in software development, engineering, and startup businesses. They are experts with real-world experience working in the tech industry and academia.

See our full expert review panel.

These experts include:


About Our Editorial Process

At DevX, we’re dedicated to tech entrepreneurship. Our team closely follows industry shifts, new products, AI breakthroughs, technology trends, and funding announcements. Articles undergo thorough editing to ensure accuracy and clarity, reflecting DevX’s style and supporting entrepreneurs in the tech sphere.

See our full editorial policy.

More Technology Terms

Technology Glossary

Table of Contents