Developers in too many cases have to hope for mercy when the question of code quality arises. Development teams often lack the budget to acquire new tools that automate key process elements — but even when funds are available, cultures and processes and metrics can hinder quality improvement (with costly results).
Quality code has been a concern of mine for many years: I’ve wondered for some time if regulation or litigation, rather than education, would be the key driver for making this a top-level enterprise concern. I find that Nigel Cheshire at Enerjy Software remembers my suggesting, quite some time ago, that lawyers rather than engineers would wind up striking the blows for code quality that enterprises will actually feel — rather as lawyers did in the field of environmental protection, to the everlasting disappointment of my department head in my days as a Civil Engineering undergraduate. (N.B. — that department was renamed in 1992 to "Civil and Environmental Engineering — I hope Dr. Perkins was pleased.)
I hope that one of the hallmarks of Force.com development will be ready access (and ease of process integration) for state-of-the-art development aids, and that community creation of rich APIs and tested component libraries will make Force.com a foundation for improving development practice as well as accelerating developer creativity.