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Joel on Software: And on Diverse and Occasionally Related Matters That Will Prove of Interest to Software Developers, Designers, and Managers, and to Those Who, Whether by Good Fortune or Ill Luck, Work with Them in Some Capacity

74 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1590593899
ISBN-10: 1590593898
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Joel on Software: And on Diverse and Occasionally Related Matters That Will Prove of Interest to Software Developers, Designers, and Managers, and to Those Who, Whether by Good Fortune or Ill Luck, Work with Them in Some Capacity + More Joel on Software: Further Thoughts on  Diverse and Occasionally Related Matters That Will Prove of Interest to Software Developers, Designers, ... or Ill Luck, Work with Them in Some Capacity + Smart and Gets Things Done: Joel Spolsky's Concise Guide to Finding the Best Technical Talent
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Announcing a new book from Apress: Read Joel Spolsky's unique and humourous insights.

About the Author

Joel Spolsky is a globally recognized expert on the software development process. His web site Joel on Software (JoelonSoftware.com) is popular with software developers around the world and has been translated into over 30 languages. As the founder of Fog Creek Software in New York City, he created FogBugz, a popular project management system for software teams. Joel has worked at Microsoft, where he designed Visual Basic for Applications as a member of the Excel team, and at Juno Online Services, developing an Internet client used by millions. He has written two books: User Interface Design for Programmers (Apress, 2001) and Joel on Software (Apress, 2004). Joel holds a bachelor's of science degree in computer science from Yale University. Before college, he served in the Israeli Defense Forces as a paratrooper, and he was one of the founders of Kibbutz Hanaton.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 362 pages
  • Publisher: Apress (August 2, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590593898
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590593899
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 0.9 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #152,433 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

126 of 139 people found the following review helpful By wiredweird HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on February 27, 2005
Format: Paperback
There is a fair bit of hard-won wisdom here. It covers every aspect of the programming world, from praise of hardware, through product management and economics, back to testing and coding style, and on and on. There are a few real gems among these 45 essays (plus intro and appendix), untrammeled by the need for consistency. He's certainly unabashed about bucking current fashions, including all the silliness seen under the revival tent of the eXtremists.

At several points, Joel rails against the false economies of making code smaller and sniggers at the people to whom it matters so much, then (ch 39) he rails against the size of a Microsoft runtime support package. He also points out that antialiased fonts, other than things like headlines, are a bad idea. That was already common knowledge around DEC by about 1980, since the visibly blurred margins of characters led to eyestrain as the focussing muscles fruitlessly tried to find the edge. Modern display technology with far smaller pixel sizes seems to have reversed that decision, however, except possibly at the smallest character sizes - a blow-up of a screen capture will often show antialiasing on body text that looks quite good. If he came on a bit less strong to start with, these annoyances would be a lot less annying.

Joel's incredibly high opinion of Joel wore on me after a while. Despite all the good in this book, I had to drag myself through the last half of his pontifications, repetition, and tendency towards the absolute. If you're already a fan of his other writing, that might not bother you. For me, Joel, in his role as high priest in the cult of Joel, became tiresome. I'm sure he's a skilled developer and savvy business man, but I really don't think I'd enjoy meeting him.

//wiredweird
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92 of 102 people found the following review helpful By David N. Reiss on August 20, 2004
Format: Paperback
I've enjoyed reading JoelonSoftware.com for several years now. Joel has a unique down to earth view on computers, programming and business that makes his blog worth reading. He believes in using the right tool for the job, and not just always using a hammer because you have one handy.

There are a lot of books and web sites on how business, software, computers and programming should be conducted. Most fail to understand the basics of what they are talking about because the writer has a theory that he thinks will solve everything. But the theory takes on a life of its own, and becomes more important than observed reality. Just the trap many political, religious and self-help demagogues fall into. They become pie-in-the-sky dreamers and less attached to normal life.

He seems to have a similar, if slightly younger perspective, on the field as Richard P. Gabriel who wrote his now famous "Worse is Better" essay about 10-15 years ago. Another writer/programmer he reminds me of is Paul Graham.

Others I would compare him too, though each if very different in their own ways, are the writings and blog of Wil Wheaton, The Cluetrain Manifesto, and the rants of Fred on Everything (Fred Reed), Jerry Pournelle's Chaos Manor, and much that appears on /.Slashdot.

Joel has not tried to generalize his very specific observations into a unified whole theory of all programming and computer management. But that doesn't prevent you, the home reader, from making those generalizations yourself. You may have to prevent yourself from thinking too much of it, least the Law of Leaky Abstractions take over. Joel gives one a good place to start.

I've used his "Law of Leaky Abstractions" in discussions I had many times.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Joe Stagner on December 19, 2004
Format: Paperback
Joel is good a pissing people off! Weenie armchair quarterbacks and other fanatics that are easily infuriated probably won't like this book, or Joel's other writings.

A first glance at this book might give you the impression that Joel Spolsky is another bloging cynic with more opinion then experience. But don't be fooled. Joel is a very smart guy and this book is a great read. You probably won't agree with everything he says, I don't, but this book really makes you think.

An old coach of mine (Tony Blauer) told the "Good information doesn't displace OTHER good information."

Considering opinions that are the same as our own is far less valuable than opinions that differ from our own. Joel's book is full of opinions that have "growth opportunity.

Really good writers make you think. According to the chief blogger on my team at Microsoft (Rory Blyth) a great blogger is at least a but controversial, they not only make you think, they make you want to respond. Joel is on my short list of bloggers in aggregator.

The book is basically a collection of Joel's writing originally published on his blog at [...] though this is not his first book. As near as I can tell the writings span a time frame from 2000 to 2004.

Joel is an interesting guy, the kind of guy you'd love to debate. He was an Israeli paratrooper went to Yale, worked at Microsoft for a few years then Juno, and now owns Fog Creek Software in New York.

To begin with, the book is a FUN. Joel's casual writing style is almost conversational and makes for a read that's more like listening to a story than reading a manual. I read it cover to cover in two days.
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Joel on Software: And on Diverse and Occasionally Related Matters That Will Prove of Interest to Software Developers, Designers, and Managers, and to Those Who, Whether by Good Fortune or Ill Luck, Work with Them in Some Capacity
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