Friday, July 29, 2005

Book Review: The Best Software Writing 1

The Best Software Writing I:
Selected and Introduced by Joel Spolsky
ISBN: 1590595009

This book aims to collect the best software writing, usually from online sources, over the last year or so and reproduce it in book form. The idea is to have a series - think about is as the Now of software writing (for any British readers).

By software writing it means writing in English related to software development. There's a couple of posts from Eric Sink about running a software company, an introduction to Ruby with cartoon foxes, and many other gems. The book is great and you should buy it, read it, and lend it to your friends.

It has two major weaknesses. Firstly, if you regularly read Joel's blog and follow the links, you'll probably have read much of it already. Secondly, because Joel is editing it none of his own writing makes it in.

I think the most important thing about it is that it is inspirational. It makes me think that I want to write well-written, provocative articles related to software, in the hope that one of them makes it into book 2. If it encourages others to think and act the same way then Joel and the publishers have done the world a service. It's a lot easier to write an insightful single article than to write "Writing Solid Code" or "The Mythical Man Month", and if this encourages people to start writing, we might have more classic software books to read.

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