Monday, June 13, 2005

The Best of Software Writing I

So I got my hands on an advance review copy of The Best of Software Writing I, a new book that collects a bunch of really well written essays about software development, edited by Joel Spolsky.

So far, I'm quite impressed. Much of what's included are essays I've already seen in one form or another, but a number of them are new to me, and all of them are, indeed, quite well written and thought provoking.

A few that stuck in my head:

danah boyd's "Autistic Social Software" - What a fantastic articulation of what's wrong with, well, all sorts of stuff. I need to go back and reread this a few more times, but even the first pass gave me all sorts of ideas that just won't get out of my head.

Bruce Eckel's "Strong Typing vs Strong Testing" - I had much the same thought process as he did regarding the code examples in my book, and if I ever do it again I'm going to automate the testing process, because he's totally right, just because it compiles doesn't mean it works.

Eric Johnson's "C++ - The Forgotten Trojan Horse" - I'm biased here, I used to work for EJ, but seriously, take my word for it, he's right on the money with this one. It's funny though, how easily I can see the seeds of this essay in his old posts on our internal newsgroups back at $COMPANY, especially the one where he compared C++ to a drug dealer and template metaprogramming to a weekend bender. I really hope that having this one published convinces him that he needs to write more of these, because I know for a fact tha the's got a lot to say.

Anyway, that's just a few of the essays I made it through today. The whole book is fantastic though, and you should absolutely pick it up when it's available in dead tree form, I know I intend to.