Author: Joel Spolsky
Publisher: Apress, 2008
Aimed at: everyone who’s ever coded or managed coders
Pros: Written by a legend
Cons: You can read his blog free!
Reviewed by: Dave Wheeler
Joel Spolsky is a developer/software-business owner who has a blog. Millions of developers worldwide read it. Selected highlights are available in this follow-on book (there’s also a previous Joel on Software) which, for a small sum of money, enables you to read these pearls of wisdom in the bath. So why would you buy this book, when you can read it free online?
Firstly, there’s the ability to leave it lying around on your desk: “Hmm,” your manager will think, “he’s reading that Spolsky again on how decent developers should be out there getting themselves plum jobs for great organisations that fly their ‘stars’ first class. Maybe we need to give him a pay rise.” Then there’s the cool cover (shame about the spine and back cover), which is so much nicer than the average geeky book. Next, there’s the way that they have pulled blog entries from different times together to make coherent chapters on topics as diverse on “advice to would-be programmers” and “how to start your own software business”. Finally, well, you can read it in the bath!
The quality is as good as ever. His views on everything from how to hire a developer to how to write decent code make a lot of sense. You don’t have to agree with everything he says, and that’s fine (and I don’t), but his writing style engages you and promotes thought. Yes, there’s the odd moment of vanity and the plug for Spolsky’s FogBugz software, but who cares?
Spolsky’s blog content has always been good enough for “real” publishing: and this book proves it. If you want to make up your own mind, though, simply browse over to the blog and check out the writing for yourself. I hope you like it, because I certainly do.
<Reviewed in VSJ>