Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Best Software Writing I

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the so-says-joel-all-rise dept.

Books 102

meryl (Meryl K. Evans) writes "Having been in process management in a software organization for over ten years, I've seen too many articles and books on the topic that worked better than Valium for putting me to sleep especially since they have no side effects. You know that Joel Spolsky is one of the best writers on the topic of software. However, in this book he stands aside and lets others demonstrate that he isn't the only one who can write about software in English and captivate you." Read on for Evans' review.Joel on Software fans won't be disappointed in the selection of authors as they deal with the concepts Spolsky writes about on his site. Some readers may be expecting a book solely on software development. Even Joel goes beyond this. Some folks might be disappointed that most of the articles, blog entries, speeches, and essays are available somewhere on the Web. I only recognize a few of the authors and their articles, though, so I would've never known about the others had I not found this book.

The essays cover a wide range of development-related topics. They include coding style, outsourcing programmers, dealing with Excel as a database (gag, gag), using social software (and the things that are right and wrong with these shared spaces), emerging digital rights, and defining the two-phase commit process a la Starbucks. A few of them are nothing but comics. The one on Windows search will knocks readers out of their chairs laughing, at least it did me.

The book also contains business-related essays that address a few problems affecting many companies -- namely team compensation and forced overtime which often spills over the weekend. Joel introduces every essay and includes notes clarifying abbreviations, names, or terms that you most likely know. But other people who would benefit from the book may not -- cut Joel some slack for providing these notes.

The manager benefits from the book because she gains insight into the developer's perspective, which could help her become a better leader. The developer benefits because many of the issues covered can affect him no matter what language he uses for development. If you belong to neither management nor development, the best way to decide if the book is for you or not is to review the table of contents and reviews. If you find only one or two interesting possibilities, search for them online instead.

I'm one of those who belong to neither group. My software organization background has been along the lines of an analyst and process manager. Even I find that most of the essays are enjoyable or educational. Only one or two lost me.

While most of the content is available on the Internet for free and all of you can find it, the book is worth the bucks. It's nice having a collection of high-quality writing related to software and the business in one place instead of trawling the Web for it. Furthermore, you get an opportunity to read offline -- if you manage to tear yourself away from the monitor every now and then at least; I read most of the book while traveling on an airplane. The flight flew by, thanks to the book. I appreciated and absorbed the essays better by reading them in the book than I would have had I read them online.


You can purchase Best Software Writing I from bn.com. Slashdot welcomes readers' book reviews -- to see your own review here, read the book review guidelines, then visit the submission page.

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

"Best Software Writing I" (5, Funny)

Neil Blender (555885) | more than 9 years ago | (#13568907)

From the publishers of "Worstest Book Titling 3".

Re:"Best Software Writing I" (3, Funny)

yotto (590067) | more than 9 years ago | (#13568921)

On, oh come! Title liking I!

Re:"Best Software Writing I" (1)

mikiN (75494) | more than 9 years ago | (#13569502)

tlhIngan Hol Dajatlh'a'?

OVS [wikipedia.org] word order is very rare indeed (on Earth, that is).

I'm now looking for (1)

Karma_fucker_sucker (898393) | more than 9 years ago | (#13569053)

my grammar book from my Freshman year of college. This is bad! I've become so desensitized to bad grammar that I didn't even notice the error in the title.

Re:I'm now looking for (1)

VATechTigger (884976) | more than 9 years ago | (#13569474)

I wonder why the authors grammer checker in word did not catch this. Oh wait, didnt we just have this discusion..... Here [slashdot.org]

Re:"Best Software Writing I" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13569326)

All thy castle art belong to my court!
Move horse!

Re:"Best Software Writing I" (4, Funny)

kurosawdust (654754) | more than 9 years ago | (#13569532)

I think I'll wait for "Best Software Writing 2: Electric Boogaloo"

Re:"Best Software Writing I" (2, Informative)

dtdns (559328) | more than 9 years ago | (#13570029)

According to the introduction, the book is intended to be an annual collection of the best essays from the previous year, but they were afraid the book stores would try to return the books if there was a year in the title ("Best Software Writing of 2004"). Additionally, with the first edition there were some articles from 2003 that he wanted to include, so it got a numbered title instead.

I just finished reading this book a few days ago (mostly at the beach, no less), and I think some of the articles were wonderful, and a few had me counting the pages until the next chapter. Overall it is a great book that will live in my library for many, many years.

Re:"Best Software Writing I" (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 9 years ago | (#13570051)

Best Software Writing I?

Best Software, formerly Sage Software, now changing back to Sage Software (they need to make up their minds!) publishes MAS90, MAS200, Peachtree, ABRA HRMS...

Now they've spun off their web-development arm into "Buckhead Software"... like I need another reason to accidentally swear at a web development company.

But why would Joel edit a collection of essays on this specific company's products? Are they the benchmark for software solutions?

And about the review (1)

SavingPrivateNawak (563767) | more than 9 years ago | (#13570362)

Why
The manager benefits from the book because she
and
The developer benefits because many of the issues covered can affect him ??

Is that sexism?

Articles online (5, Informative)

nemexi (786227) | more than 9 years ago | (#13568918)

Links to the essays in Best Software Writing can be found here: http://brevity.org/misc/bestswi.html [brevity.org]

Re:Articles online (1)

L. VeGas (580015) | more than 9 years ago | (#13568959)

I've actually read most of the essays listed in this link. The book is over 300 pages, and I know that there is no way all the essays can add up to that much. I wonder how much has actually been added to the print edition.

Re:Articles online (1)

MedManDC (536578) | more than 9 years ago | (#13570255)

Thanks for the list. I was very glad to see Why's (poignant) Guide to Ruby [poignantguide.net] on the list.

It would be nice to get a view from the other side (4, Insightful)

kelzer (83087) | more than 9 years ago | (#13568923)

Not everyone is a fan of Joel's. This reviewer obviously is. It would be interesting to get a more objective viewpoint.

Shut the fuck up! on Joel Spolsky: (1, Flamebait)

Shut the fuck up! (572058) | more than 9 years ago | (#13569050)

Joel Spolsky is a complete blowhard. His writing is thinly disguised diarrhea of his own ego. The end.

Re:Shut the fuck up! on Joel Spolsky: (1)

kianu7 (886560) | more than 9 years ago | (#13569204)

Damn dude, if you get that wound up about a book, I'd hate to see what happens when you get a letter from the IRS regarding the $20,000 you claimed as a charitable donation to a charity called "Tentacle Hentai."

Re:Shut the fuck up! on Joel Spolsky: (2, Funny)

lewp (95638) | more than 9 years ago | (#13569497)

Don't you know that Tentacle Hentai is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization?

Re:It would be nice to get a view from the other s (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 9 years ago | (#13569072)

Then write one.

Re:It would be nice to get a view from the other s (2, Informative)

Fiver- (169605) | more than 9 years ago | (#13569133)

You do realize that Joel didn't write any of these essays, right?

Re:It would be nice to get a view from the other s (4, Insightful)

pudge (3605) | more than 9 years ago | (#13570027)

Here's a review I wrote of this book for The Perl Review [theperlreview.com] , issue 2.0:

There's a lot of good writing in the world. Some of that has to do with software. So hey, why not put some of it in a book?

Therein lies the apparent purpose of The Best Software Writing I, brought to us by software bloggerexpertpundit Joel Spolsky. Beyond that broad categorical relationship, it's hard to see how everything in the book relates, either to each other, or to the reader.

I like tables, but I don't buy a book with various articles written about tables. If I want to build a table, I buy a book on building tables. If I want to look at antique tables, I'll buy a book about antique tables. I won't buy a book about tables and hope it has something I am interested in.

I don't want to say this is a bad book, because that might imply the content is bad, and hardly any of it is. Some of it to me is quite boring--which highlights my main problem with the book--but most of it is quite good.

The opening chapter by Ken Arnold on why languages should enforce strict whitespace use at the compiler level was useless. And the final chapter, by "why the lucky stiff," which attempts to teach Ruby with a few short guidelines and cartoon foxes, had me skimming the pictures before gratefully reaching the conclusion.

But in between there was some really good stuff, including Paul Graham's OSCON 2004 keynote address about what makes a great hacker, Raymond Chen's piece on why Windows retains backward compatibility for broken apps, and danah boyd's article about social software. There's an insightful piece by Clay Shirky about how to encourage good discussion and discourage bad discussion online, a perceptive article by John Gruber about how the browser's location field is the new command line, and an amusing PowerPoint presentation outline by Aaron Swartz about why you shouldn't use PowerPoint.

And you know they are good, because each piece has an introduction by Spolsky, telling you not just how good they are, but that Spolsky thought of it first. Some of the articles even refer back to Spolsky, which is nice, in case you forgot how great he is. Not that other people don't engage in similar practices: the last three pieces I mentioned above are related to me, in that Shirky favorably mentions Slashdot (where I work), and Gruber and Swartz are my acquaintances, and that's a big part of why I singled them out for mention. It just seems to me that Spolsky shines the light far too much on himself, to make the book almost as much about himself as the writing.

What's especially odd is that this book couldn't appeal to people who are not already into software, who don't already know who some of these people are, or who are familiar with the issues they are writing about. They won't get any of it. Yet the book is littered with footnotes from Spolsky explaining things like "iTunes" ("Apple's online music store") and "dev" ("Dev = developer = an actual computer programmer").

Which brings me back to the point of the book. It's not for non-software people, and it is not for software people, including those who enjoy this sort of thing so much that they already read it when it went online.

So what is the point? I don't know. Maybe it is just to make more of a name for Apress, by saying they published a book by known software bloggerexpertpundit Joel Spolsky.

Could be for managers (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 9 years ago | (#13570484)

I figured him explaining some obvious stuff was so that you could hand a bookmarked section to a manager and not have them get too lost.

I agree it's a bit havy on the Joel aspects, but I really liked a lot of the articles (although I have a rebuttal for that whitespace guy, who I consider 100% utterly wrong).

Re:Could be for managers (2, Insightful)

pudge (3605) | more than 9 years ago | (#13570648)

Yeah, that's why I called it useless. I posted on his web site about it [artima.com] too. Here's my comment:
Premise 1: For any given hardware, there are one or a few common coding operating systems.

Premise 2: There is not now, nor will there ever be, an operating system whose benefit is significantly greater than any of the common operating systems.
Premise 3: Approximately a gaboozillion cycles are spent on dealing with OS variations.
Premise 4: For any non-trivial project, a common OS is a good thing.
Conclusion: Thinking of all the code in the entire world as a single "project" with a single OS, we would get more value than we do by allowing for variations in operating systems.

Premise 1: For any given OS, there are one or a few common coding languages.
Premise 2: There is not now, nor will there ever be, a programming language whose benefit is significantly greater than any of the common languages.
Premise 3: Approximately a gaboozillion cycles are spent on dealing with language variations.
Premise 4: For any non-trivial project, a common language is a good thing.
Conclusion: Thinking of all the code in the entire world as a single "project" with a single language, we would get more value than we do by allowing for variations in languages.

And so on. This is really an intensely silly idea.

Re:Could be for managers (1)

qbwiz (87077) | more than 9 years ago | (#13570990)

Those aren't parallel. There could be operating systems and programming languages with much greater benefits than those we currently/commonly use. Linux vs. Windows. Python and Ruby vs. C. How many significantly better-than-normal ways are there of formatting programs?

Re:Could be for managers (1)

pudge (3605) | more than 9 years ago | (#13571097)

Those aren't parallel. There could be operating systems and programming languages with much greater benefits than those we currently/commonly use. Linux vs. Windows. Python and Ruby vs. C. How many significantly better-than-normal ways are there of formatting programs?

According to whom?

And there's your answer.

Q.E.D.

Re:Could be for managers (1)

univgeek (442857) | more than 9 years ago | (#13573900)

According to whom? And there's your answer. Q.E.D.
WTF??!! Are you trying to say there are no quantifiable differences in benefits? Quantifiable, as opposed to opinions. The few I can think of - C for bare metal, perl if you want to parse and spit reports, SQL if you want to deal with databases. I can't believe you think that all OS's and all languages are the same in performance. That's just dumb.

Re:Could be for managers (1)

pudge (3605) | more than 9 years ago | (#13576167)

Are you trying to say there are no quantifiable differences in benefits?

No. I am saying I can quantify the benefits of a language style as easily as you can quantify the benefits of a language or OS.

I can't believe you think that all OS's and all languages are the same in performance. That's just dumb.

Well, it's a good thing I never stated or implied that, or else I'd feel bad right now!

Re:Could be for managers (1)

kcrca (4559) | more than 9 years ago | (#13575427)

Well, according to you. Can you name a C coding style that according to you gives you significant gains over the standard K&R style? That's the question posed in the article. Could you fill out one of those forms at the end of the article? If so, here's a good place to do so.

To knock an argument because of its form is only valid if there are no important arguments for which the form is actually helpful. For example:

  • Premise 1. For chargeable things (cell phone, PDA, pager) there are only a few meaningful power ranges.
  • Premise 2. No one power connector is significantly better than the others.
  • Premise 3. It would be a good thing if there were one, or at worst a handful, of common power charging connectors.
  • Conclusion: It would be good to think of all chargeable things as falling into a few buckets and having a standard connector for each bucket so I don't have to buy a set of new adaptors for each different cell phone, etc., that I buy.
Aha! The same form, a good argument. Or do you like the connector conspiracy? If you do, here's another one:
  • Premise 1. For most Western European languages there are a finite set of useful symbols (letters, digits, punctuation).
  • Premise 2. No one common encoding of those (A = 1 vs. A = 63 vs. A = 31) is better than any other.
  • Premise 3. If there were one common character encoding it would make a lot of things simpler.
  • Conclusion: It would be good to think of all the computer-stored text in the world as members of a single class of files and have a standard encoding that we all follow.
Aha! The same form, and now we have ASCII trumping EBCDIC, which was a good thing. Or would you prefer if each group defined its own "better" cahracter mapping and we have a world of programs to translate between the common ones, have editors that can read ten or twenty or thirty styles, etc.? Think of all that effort! Couldn't it be better placed elsewhere. Isn't it better placed?

So you see, the argument form is fine, you just disagree with the weighting. Let's keep focused on your problem, shall we?

Now I'm waiting for you to fill out the form...

Re:Could be for managers (1)

pudge (3605) | more than 9 years ago | (#13576148)

Well, according to you. Can you name a C coding style that according to you gives you significant gains over the standard K&R style? That's the question posed in the article.

Maybe, maybe not. But what I do know is that I could give just as strong a defense that we do not need multiple OSes or programming languages. And don't fool yourself into thinking I can't.

Aha! The same form, and now we have ASCII trumping EBCDIC, which was a good thing

Straw man. I never implied that the form was wrong because its results were poor, but because the log of the form is, as it can be used to discredit any variance at all.

Re:It would be nice to get a view from the other s (1)

qbwiz (87077) | more than 9 years ago | (#13570963)

Joel has already published 2 other books with Apress. His book on User Interface design wasn't half bad.

Re:It would be nice to get a view from the other s (1)

pudge (3605) | more than 9 years ago | (#13571013)

Yes, I didn't mean to imply they hadn't, just that this was another one.

Re:It would be nice to get a view from the other s (1)

meryl (558832) | more than 9 years ago | (#13570276)

I am not a fan of Joel's. I respect his writing. Who he is has no influence over my review of the book and he didn't write the book.

Joel didn't write (much) (2, Interesting)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 9 years ago | (#13570454)

Joel does make comments at the start of each article, some are inane to be sure - but the majority are pretty solid an interesting articles from a wide variety of people across the software industry. If you pay attention to Slashdot you'll probably have read a lot of them, but there were some I had not seen before that I found pretty thought provoking.

Re:It would be nice to get a view from the other s (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13570593)

"Not everyone is a fan of Joel's."

Nooo! it can't possibly be true. Every word of his is truth. Just ask Phil Greenspun, who disagreed with Joel's sideline advice to replace BSD/TCL/AOLserver with Windows NT, IIS, and C#... the company may have folded, their customers may have been lost, but let no-one say it was bad reasoning!

Re:It would be nice to get a view from the other s (1)

omibus (116064) | more than 9 years ago | (#13571346)

You dont have to be for this book. I dont think he has a single article in it.

Btw: there is an essay in there by Rory Blyth, if you dont think it is funny you have never worked in the real world. But the great thing is, the essay is a blog post. you can read it here.
http://neopoleon.com/blog/posts/434.aspx [neopoleon.com]

Trip /\/\aster /\/\onkey? (1)

montreal!hahahahah (880120) | more than 9 years ago | (#13568927)

hahahahhahah!

Re:Trip /\/\aster /\/\onkey? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13569178)

Hey lay off! His .sig is the best!

If it were from MS Press... (-1, Offtopic)

doublem (118724) | more than 9 years ago | (#13568937)

Well, at least it's not from Microsoft Press. If it were, we'd know it was an unintentional catalog of "This is how NOT to do it" advice.

Re:If it were from MS Press... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13569384)

OFMG YOU AER SO RITE!!1 MICRO$HAFT SUX AZZ!

Dickhead.

Re:If it were from MS Press... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13569403)

Ever heard of a title called Code Complete [bookpool.com] written by Steve McConnell and published by Microsoft Press? Probably one of the top 5 "how to" software guides out there.
It's more about the author than the publisher.

Bentley's books far better ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13570893)

EOM

Re:If it were from MS Press... (1)

sgt_doom (655561) | more than 9 years ago | (#13569618)

Wonderful post....but one must applaud M$ for making so many billions off of what once automatically accompanied all software - actual documentation.

Re:If it were from MS Press... (1)

Enrico Pulatzo (536675) | more than 9 years ago | (#13569943)

Go read "Code Complete" and tell me your attitude hasn't changed.

Re:If it were from MS Press... (2, Informative)

Tim Browse (9263) | more than 9 years ago | (#13570763)

I used to recommend (well, I still do, actually) Writing Solid Code [amazon.com] by Steve Maguire to programmers. (Nowadays I guess it's a bit C-centric, but the principles are the same, and I'd say if you have trouble grasping the code concepts in the book, you're not ever going to write solid code anyway.)

Some people had the typical "Ha! Microsoft! What can they tell me about writing solid code?!" attitude.

A while later they'd finish it, and usually derisively tell me they'd learned nothing from it.

Almost invariably with such people, I would later look at the code they produced and think, "You're right. You learned absolutely nothing from that book."

Ah well. Such is life.

Conservativism has failed (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13568940)

Modern conservativism is a proven failure. Ideology is almost always a destructive force in governance. The best government is dedicated to liberty, justice, and democracy, with science being the thread that ties each together.

Re:Conservativism has failed (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13569057)

Modern conservativism is a proven failure. Ideology is almost always a destructive force in governance. The best government is dedicated to liberty, justice, and democracy, with science being the thread that ties each together.

Hmmm, you do realize that this is very idealistic. Liberty and justice, for example, are often at struggle with each other. A government can only give justice to one at the expense of the liberty of another. Sprinkle a little reality in there and you're on the right track.

Re:Conservativism has failed (0, Offtopic)

P3NIS_CLEAVER (860022) | more than 9 years ago | (#13569210)

Science has and will be wrong many times. Thousands of kittens have died as a result.

Re:Conservativism has failed (-1, Offtopic)

JavaLord (680960) | more than 9 years ago | (#13569660)

Science has and will be wrong many times. Thousands of kittens have died as a result.

What is wrong with thousands of dead kittens?

Re:Conservativism has failed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13569781)

This isn't a bad thing, we can use the corpses to power our cars [slashdot.org] .

Can't wait for the Hindi translation (5, Funny)

kianu7 (886560) | more than 9 years ago | (#13568945)

When is the hindi translation of the book going to be available so that we can all enjoy it?

Re:Can't wait for the Hindi translation (1)

fbg111 (529550) | more than 9 years ago | (#13573699)

What about Bengali, Tamil, Gujarati, and other dialects. Sheesh, insensitive clod. :)

A SUMMARY OF A BOOK IS NOT A REVIEW! (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13568948)

For the last time, Slashdot book reviewers, a summary is NOT a review!

Re:A SUMMARY OF A BOOK IS NOT A REVIEW! (5, Funny)

tocs (866673) | more than 9 years ago | (#13569153)

Is this really the last time?

Re:A SUMMARY OF A BOOK IS NOT A REVIEW! (1)

schestowitz (843559) | more than 9 years ago | (#13569338)

You make a good and valid point. It is not a review; it is a Preview, where P stands for 'pseudo'.

Cheaper at Amazon (1, Informative)

randm.ca (901207) | more than 9 years ago | (#13568963)

As usual, the book is cheaper at amazon: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1590 595009/qid=1126809765/sr=8-1/ref=pd_bbs_1/002-2832 463-9709664?v=glance&s=books&n=507846 [amazon.com] (Don't worry, no referrer id in the link, I'm not trying to get rich off of you)

Re:Cheaper at Amazon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13569100)

how can that possibly be modded redundant its the first amazon link posted!

Might buy it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13568966)

Cool. I might consider getting it.

Re:Might buy it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13569366)

I don't think I'm going to buy it.

Amazon Link (2, Informative)

op12 (830015) | more than 9 years ago | (#13569002)

Referrer-free Link: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1590595009/ 104-8120704-9951931 [amazon.com]

Even $17 seems like a lot for something you can find for free on the internet.

Re:Amazon Link (1)

chiph (523845) | more than 9 years ago | (#13569093)

But how many of us have computers in the bathroom?

Oh, wait, this is /.

Chip H.

Re:Amazon Link (1)

papasui (567265) | more than 9 years ago | (#13569478)

That's a selling point of a notebook. Now you can surf while you shit err sit....

Strange (2, Interesting)

imsabbel (611519) | more than 9 years ago | (#13569123)

Do you think advertising for amazon for free (as they dont have to pay the normal referer, thus increasing their profits) will give you a moral highground?

I rather give (the provision part of) the money to somebody who searched out the link than to multibillion corporation.

Re:Strange (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13569294)

Here you go:
http://www.bookpool.com/ss?qs=1590595009&x=33&y=8 [bookpool.com]

Referrer free, cheaper, and supports an underdog!

Re:Amazon Link (1)

christowang (590054) | more than 9 years ago | (#13570387)

Some people prefer the dead tree version. I know it's difficult to comprehend not wanting to stare at a screen all day.

I liked it. (1)

BadMackTuck (910473) | more than 9 years ago | (#13569065)

I had read a good portion of it before, but some of the stuff is always good to reread. And, on occasion, if someone is standing in my cube and we happen to be talking about forced overtime... (ugh)... then it's a lot easier to hand them the book, flip it to ea_spouse's article, then tell them that they should someday go and find it and maybe read it once they find it.

Re:I liked it. (1)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | more than 9 years ago | (#13569228)

I liked it too. Much better than Cats (or should that be Katz?). I'll read it again and again.

Re:I liked it. (1)

chris_mahan (256577) | more than 9 years ago | (#13569884)

I liked it too. I've given it to someone at the office to read. It's hard to do with a bunch of web sites.

receipt? (1)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 9 years ago | (#13569137)

That's why I get a receipt, it's like a session token saying that I am owed packet 123 (drink) for having sent request ABC (cash + order).

---Throwing the golden wrench of reason into the complex machinery of life since 1979.---

Joel on what? (3, Funny)

Shamashmuddamiq (588220) | more than 9 years ago | (#13569149)

You know that Joel Spolsky is one of the best writers on the topic of software.

Good lord! Is writing on the topic of software really that bad?

Oh wait, that's your opinion. ...and oh wait, this is Slashdot.

Re:Joel on what? (1)

darkov (261309) | more than 9 years ago | (#13572247)

Wait, I feel a disturbance in the net... it was like the blabbering half-baked opinions of two hundred thousand 14 year olds, suddenly silenced... ...oh wait, Slashdot's gone down...

me too (1)

endlessvoid94 (767811) | more than 9 years ago | (#13569157)

I have read this book as well, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I'm still a college student in CS and found most of it informative and interesting. It was not without its low points, however. A good read, IMHO. 95% non-bullshit.

just my two cents

thanks for holding my hand. (3, Funny)

jasongetsdown (890117) | more than 9 years ago | (#13569205)

"the best way to decide if the book is for you or not is to review the table of contents and reviews. If you find only one or two interesting possibilities, search for them online instead."

Uh, thanks. This is my first time here in the scary world of b00ks (as opposed to books).

Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13569215)

You know that Joel Spolsky is one of the best writers on the topic of software.

You must have mixed him up with Paul Graham - Spolsky is usually just loud and annoying. Well, at least he's better than Shirky...

oh dear (2, Funny)

KFowler (915146) | more than 9 years ago | (#13569231)

"The one on Windows search will knocks readers out of their chairs laughing, at least it did me" I sure hope you used protection. It looks like you might have already caught grammatical SARS.

Re:oh dear (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13570573)

Not only did it knock him out of his chair, but he probably read it while on the airplane. That means the essay was probably so funny that it made him break the lap belt!

Interview with Joel concerning the book (2, Informative)

jasoegaard (103287) | more than 9 years ago | (#13569246)

IT conversations have a recently recorded interview with Joel in which he tells about the book. Great stuff.

IT Conversations's interview with Joel [itconversations.com]

Joel On Software (1)

MrSteveSD (801820) | more than 9 years ago | (#13569339)

I enjoyed reading his earlier book "Joel On Software", but I think you will learn far more from...
"Analysis Patterns" by Martin Fowler
"Patterns of Enterprise Application Architecture" by Martin Fowler.
"Design patterns : elements of reusable object-oriented software" by Eric Gama et al

And for database stuff I would recommend
"Agile Database Techniques" by Scott W. Ambler

On Good Software (1)

lwriemen (763666) | more than 9 years ago | (#13569583)

Better books to learn from are:

Development:
Executable UML by Mellor and Balcer and
Executable UML:How To Build Class Models by Leon Starr
The older Shlaer-Mellor books are valuable as well.
Software Requirements by Wiegers

Management:
Peopleware by DeMarco and Lister
Slack by DeMarco

Data:
An Introduction to Database Systems by Date

Re:Joel On Software (1)

meryl (558832) | more than 9 years ago | (#13570305)

Thanks for the recommendations. Wish more people would provide comments like yours. And I was simply stating what a majority of people say about him... that he is one of the best. It doesn't mean I think so, but he does have good stuff. Again... he didn't write ANY of the essays here... so it's not about his writing.

Yeah, but (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13569355)

I've seen too many articles and books on the topic that worked better than Valium for putting me to sleep especially since they have no side effects.

Yeah, but books and articles about programming won't bring you down nicely from a three-day coke binge. Believe me, I've tried...

Save more than THREE BUCKS! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13569387)

Save yourself more than THREE BUCKS by buying the book here: Best Software Writing I [amazon.com] . And if you use the "secret" A9.com discount [amazon.com] , you can save an extra 1.57%!

Mod down, same kaleidojewel spam as always (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13569647)

Yet another post from kaleidojewel, trying to get a few nickels by filling up the Book Review threads with his referral-link-laden "Buy the book from MEEEEEEE!" pleas. Truly and predictably pathetic.

problem with the book (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13569453)

The worst thing about the book is that Joel doesn't know when to shut up. Say Bruce Eckel writes an essay about how great Python is, and Joel doesn't like Python. So he prefaces the essay with his own comments about why you shouldn't use Python.

Hey Joel! Shut up and let the author's essay stand on its own already.

where are the URL's? (1)

rjnagle (122374) | more than 9 years ago | (#13569485)

I heard Joel spolsky talk about this book on itconversations.com [itconversations.com]

The first thing I had to ask myself is:
Why doesn't somebody just list the URL's of all the articles somewhere so I can download everything?

If any of you know these essays, how about url's?

Re:where are the URL's? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13569883)

You can find links to all the articles in the book here:

http://brevity.org/misc/bestswi.html [brevity.org]

I liked the book (2, Interesting)

richieb (3277) | more than 9 years ago | (#13570033)

Here is my mini-review [blogspot.com]

Is it just me or... (1)

pruneau (208454) | more than 9 years ago | (#13570234)

The manager benefits from the book because she gains insight into the developer's perspective, which could help her become a better leader.
...he's using the female genre as a generic way to describe managers (no bias intended ?)

Re:Is it just me or... (1)

meryl (558832) | more than 9 years ago | (#13570349)

And the reviewer is a SHE! Notice... I used she for manager and he for developer. I alternate as I don't like "their" or "he or she."

Re:Is it just me or... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13571277)

Well then, it's good to see you admit to bad English over and against proper use of third person singular pronouns. Heaven forbid that external reality clash with your anti-male alternate universe!

All hail the day when management positions will be awarded based on genitalia rather than techincal competence.

Re:Is it just me or... (1)

pruneau (208454) | more than 9 years ago | (#13575258)

OH, Sorry I did not pay attention to your first name.

Nice to see that for once someone not high on testosterone did make it into this sorry male-dominated geek world.

Keep on the good work, lass !

Re:Is it just me or... (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 9 years ago | (#13571088)

no, the manager is a post-op (formerly male) transsexual.

This is really really good (3, Interesting)

Chitlenz (184283) | more than 9 years ago | (#13571430)

I picked it up on a whim while shopping for managed DirectX books at borders the other day after picking it up (literally) and reading though a few of the essays. This one's full of not only good observations about software development, BUT also has several good articles about geeks in businesss, and how they interact with the dreaded non-technical management types.

This is worth the money just to pick up and have someone rationally present alterantive viewpoints. For instance, I would LOVE to have a company adopt the no-bonuses policy coupled with salary advancements and promotion as an alternative. In every company I have ever worked for, bonuses have caused huge amounts of turmoil and I agree with the premise that everyone would be happier (and more creative) without the kind of intellectual sword of damacles a late or missing promised bonus program can cause in an IT shop. I watched a Peoplesoft shop come very close to falling apart after management decided not to pay promised bonuses one year, and I think that while this is in every way a problem of management, I agree with the essay's author that fault or not the whole process becomes a huge demotivator in place of an intentioned boost.

Again, the above is just one example from one essay in this volume. Agree or disagree with the points of view contained in the book, but the act of thinking about the problems that are presented here are going to happen along the course of most projects anyway, and I like to take things head-on.

I understand most of the articles are available online, but I this is one technical book that is actually fireside readable (IMHO) so I picked up the dead tree edition.

Highly recommended to IT folk

-chitlenz

this FP for GNAEA (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13571704)

they're 6onE Mac

Best Software Writing I (1)

asifyoucare (302582) | more than 9 years ago | (#13571992)

Yoda, is that you?

(and I think your code blows)

I put it off to long. Book should be rated 3 of 10 (2, Informative)

RingDev (879105) | more than 9 years ago | (#13573103)

I bought and read this book, I have been meaning to write up a full review, but never have the time, so here is a short jist. It was a waste. The few gems on social software design and humorous cartoons are the only redeming quality. Joel's intros are fine, but his choice in articles is pretty poor.

The worst part is that the only article that actually dealt with software development/design/writing is a 2 page jib at microsoft about their window search system interface. The rest is mostly filled with management info that has nothing to do with software writing. There were three or four articles on performance metrics for 'knowledge workers' that all said the same thing ("They suck"). There was one delusional article that talked about how only Python coders were real coders and all other coders are fake pansies. That same author talk about how to recruit "hackers" (ie: Python coders). His basic jist was to offer a work environment just like your mother's basement and the uber python coding hackers will beg you to let them work for you.

A better title would have been "Mangerial info and other crap from people loosely related to computers: Final Volume"

-Rick

Come on! Where is the 'In Soviet Russia' jokes (1)

rookie1 (30305) | more than 9 years ago | (#13573142)

In Soviet Russia, Best Software Writing you!

PHB alert. (1)

infochuck (468115) | more than 9 years ago | (#13575304)

A review of a software book my a "process manager"? Puh-lease. Go sharpen your head.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?