Joel Spolsky: More Joel on Software Further Thoughts on Diverse and Occasionally Related Matters that Will Prove of Interest to Software Developers, Designers, and Managers, and to Those Who, Whether by Good Forune or Ill Luck, Work with Them in Some Capacity, 2008, Apress, 300 pages, ISBN 978-1-4302-0987-4
Reviewed by Conrad Weisert, October, 2009
Two years ago I greatly enjoyed Mr. Spolsky's first volume, which I still recommend for any professional's library. This sequel contains even more sound advice.
The book is a potpourri of essays on three distinct topics:
I would have preferred separate volumes on each topic, but the book is well worth the price even if you have no interest in one of them.
You won't agree with 100% of Mr. Spolsky's advice, but I was delighted to spot credible and persuasive reinforcement for a few principles that have been pre-empted by fad mathodologists:
I can't tell you how many times I've been in a meeting with even one or two other programmers, trying to figure out how something should work, and we're just not getting anywhere. So I go off in my office and take out a piece of paper and figure it out. The very act of interacting with a second person was keeping me from concentrating enough to design the dang1 feature.—p. 95
Even on the small scale when you look at any programming organization, the programmers with the most power and influence are the ones who can write and speak in English clearly, convincingly, and comfortably.—p. 74
. . . in the last decade a number of otherwise perfectly good schools have gone 100% Java.—p54
As an employer I've seen that the 100% Java schools have started churning out quite a few CS graduates who are simply not smart enough to work as programmers on anything more sophisticated than Yet Another Java Accounting Application, although they did manage to squeak through the newly dumbed-down coursework.—p. 56
At Ivy League institutions everything is Unix, functional programming, and theoretical stuff about state machines. As you move down the chain to less and less selective schools, Java starts to appear.—p, 65
On the other hand, I strongly disagree with Mr. Spolsky's epitome of boredom as getting "stuck in Lincoln Center sitting through all eighteen hours of Wagner's Ring cycle" (p. 78), but that's off topic and we can expect the author's taste in entertainment to expand as he matures.
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Last modified 12 October 2009