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The Best Software Writing I
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The Best Software Writing I

3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  430 ratings  ·  34 reviews
Frustrated by the lack of well-written essays on software engineering, Joel Spolsky (of fame) has put together a collection of his favorite writings on the topic.

With a nod to both the serious and funny sides of technical writing, "The Best Software Writing I: Selected and Introduced by Joel Spolsky" is an entertaining read and a guide to the technic
Paperback, 305 pages
Published June 29th 2005 by Apress (first published January 1st 2005)
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The Mythical Man-Month by Frederick P. Brooks Jr.Managing Humans by Michael LoppThe Deadline by Tom DeMarcoPeopleware by Tom DeMarcoThe Best Software Writing I by Joel Spolsky
Best Geek Management Books
5th out of 18 books — 10 voters
Code Complete by Steve McConnellThe Pragmatic Programmer by Andrew HuntStructure and Interpretation of Computer Programs by Harold AbelsonThe C Programming Language by Brian W. KernighanIntroduction to Algorithms by Thomas H. Cormen
To-Read for Programmers
35th out of 87 books — 1 voter

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 905)
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Christy Ford
Never has a book made the term 'dead tree' seem as true as this one. With minimal work, almost all of the content in this is freely available online, and I would highly recommend reading the introductions on paper, but viewing the pieces themselves in their original hyperlinked state. Cut off from their comments, with references reduced to footnotes rather than links, the writing shrinks. It feels much more alive in the context it was written.

That said, it is a fair collection of diverse and imp
A nice selection of essays about software development. Not every story is great, but there aren't too many stinkers either. And the ones that are good are really good. Here are some of my highlights:

Style is Substance - Makes the argument that style (i.e. where you put your curly braces, how you indent, etc) should be built into the compiler (like python does) The argument is basically this: No formatting style adds any significant productivity at all. Unfortunately supporting whatever style a d
Reading well-written material on technology is still something exciting to me. We're at a cusp where the world is becoming more permeated with technology, my generation is growing up with tools that are as old as we are and thus our understanding and acceptance of technology is growing. Yet the stereotypical nerd is still out there, hammering out code while being incredibly inept at writing documentation. So finding collections of material like this, where people have a deep understanding of tec ...more
Amar Pai
There's some good stuff in here but it's all stuff you can find online, and there's a lot of filler as well. I like the idea of this book but feel like they weren't able to keep the bar high enough for writing quality. e.g. "ea spouse" -- clearly a significant blog post and one that had a huge impact on the industry-- but is it great writing? Not really.

My favorite essay from the book was Strong Typing vs Strong Testing by Bruce Eckels. Really good discussion of the merits/drawbacks of dynamical
Not as good as the last collection of essays by Joel Spolsky, probably mostly because they were on topics that I was either not interested in or maybe just the overall divergence of topics. The collection brightened up considerably with the last essay, which was Why The Lucky Stiff's first chapter of his book on the Ruby programming language, which was a lot of fun to read. Sample moment from that chapter "I was there, eight years old, lying in my bed, when suddenly it struck me: there's nothing ...more
Sep 09, 2008 Ed rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: senior developers
Shelves: work
Kind of hard to get through this one, probably because it's a compilation of different authors' works and that articles are included not just because they're interesting but also because they are examples of good writing. Some of the articles are interesting and some not so much but that is probably due to my personal bias. I still haven't decided how many of the articles are not read-once. For me the book of collected JoelOnSoftware articles would be more relevant.

I haven't actually read all of
I liked Joel on Software, which is mostly a compilation of articles Joel Spolsky wrote for his blog. I thought the paper copy offered something beyond what I would get from just browsing through Spolsky's archives on the net. Sadly, I do not really have the same feeling about Best Software Writing. Most of these articles first appeared online somewhere, and while many of them are reasonably entertaining -- and the editorial footnotes are sometimes hilarious -- I'm no longer so sure that I would ...more
Vasili Puchko
A large part of the book describes Ruby language. Ruby is a great language, really. But this book is not an Ruby education guide and I prefer to see here some comparison or thoughts or something like this instead of that introduction to Ruby. It looks like the author didn't have enough articles to add to book or it was too attracted by Ruby.
But this book also shows some different problems of IT from side of non-developers - managers, CEO, customers. And that part, IMO, is very interesting.
Blair Conrad
Very nice. Spolsky’s introductions were typically Spolskyesque, and I really enjoyed almost every article. The individual authors are gifted writers, and the subject matter was interesting throughout (to me – I’m a software developer, but there were more articles than I expected that would mean something to the non-developer, and even to someone totally unconnected to the production of software).
Fantastically curated by Joel Spolsky.

It's interesting -- this book easily could have been a web site, but I'm not sure I would have read it or even found it. But this still works fairly well as a print product. In fact, I wish it would become an annual thing. There's so much stuff online and sometimes it's hard to find the best of it. Spolsky did a great job of weeding through it all.
Chun Kit Lee
Rating: 4.5/5 (unable to select 1/2 rating)

This is a really great collection. It can be read even if you are not in the IT industry as it is not a technical book, but rather a book with really great writings that help to illuminate the ideas.

I would recommend this book to everyone I know who wants to read a great non-fiction book. I'm serious.
Basically a random collection of blog posts and essays. I found maybe a few gems, but the majority were tedious and I really had to push myself to finish this book. Technology changes fast and very little in this book is 'timeless' material. Most of it felt quite dated...this was probably a much better read five years ago.
Shane Burgel
I really enjoyed this book a lot. Most of the articles were incredibly well written and entertaining as well as insightful.

This has definitely inspired me to read more technical blogs. If there are guys out there that can write like this and teach great things in this way then I want to read more of it.
This was an entertaining and informative read. Most of the concepts discussed are timeless and therefore useful, but some of the stuff discussed seemed kind of dated, even though only from 2004-2005. For someone already in the software business, this is entertaining and helpful, and I would recommend it.
They aren't writing about the techniques of software development, but the philosophy of software engineering. And they are doing it well. You will be edified by this book. This book will help build your skill in doing the right thing, which is a nice compliment to the books about doing things well.
For Software Development Nerds only. It's not a classic in the tradition of The Mythical Man Month, Peopleware, or Code Complete, but most of the essays are reasonably interesting and well-written. But probably only if you're passionate about building software.
A nice collection of well written and engaging articles covering a diverse range of topics, my favorites being the introduction to Ruby with cartoon foxes and a short essay on the evils of PowerPoint slides done in the style of bad PowerPoint slides.
Dec 15, 2008 Alpha rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2008
I've actually read a bunch of these essays on the intarwebs, but they're extremely well written and worth re-reading. I'd actually rate it 4.5/5. Well worth reading for any programmer, but I wouldn't say it's a must-read.
This book was very straightforward for me. Some of the articles that Joel selected were captivating and entertaining for developers. Other articles were quite forgettable. Hence, the book gets a middle of the road rating from me.
Joe GR
Interesting collection of short to medium length article about software development. Joel didn't write these, though his stuff is worth reading too. He collected the best stuff written around 2004. Worth the time.
Il problrma che non un libro di Spolsky, ma curato da lui. La cosa migliore sono le introduzioni di spolsky: agli articoli presentati mancano la verve e la sagacia che contraddistinguono lo stile di spolsky. ...more
Gary Lang
A mixed bag of blog posts, memos, and excellent essays about software. Adam Bosworth's ICSOC04 lecture is the best essay in the entire book. The book is a quick read - recommended for a plane flight.
Cameron Stewart
I had been looking for a book about programming (and the issues surrounding it) but not the details of how to program. this book fits that bill perfectly, very interesting.
if you already are familiar with Spolsky, then you know what gems you will find here. If you are not, you should and will be amazed by this little volume, a treasure in itself.
Some interesting essays, others boring. I should probably skim through this again to earmark the better ones (the ones I should brush up on periodically).
Loved this book, much of it is timeless. Wasn't much interested in the essays after page 183 on though (on social software, marketing and sales, and Ruby).
Nick Black
Ordered from amazon 2008-03-23. I've read most of the enclosed essays before, but shall go back through them in toto...a pretty good collection for the price!
Pg is still a jerk, and much of this I wouldn't read again, but about half the essays were very interesting and the book is worth skimming at least.
Sandeep Kulkarni
I love Joel's writing, though most of it is available on the website, I still couldn't resist reading this!
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