Computer Science 50
class reading, or, words of wisdom from
hacker extraordinaire, Joel Spolsky, and, the venerable Unix programming guru, Eric Raymond

Throughout the course we will read a number of articles that relate to programming and the software development cycle. Most will be anecdotal based on experience working in the software industry and others more academic. Please read them and come armed with thoughts, opinions, questions.

We have a reading for each Wed and Friday class. We won't have too much time in class for discussion to be honest but do read these and we'll take 5-10 minutes at the start of
class or at break in the class.

I like these articles for a number of reasons: they are insightful, sometimes funny, always opinionated and reflect real world experience - whether you like that or not.

Students asked for more Joel so we have more Joel this term. If it's too much we'll back off.

Sometimes Joel can come over a little jaded but you gotta love him. 

Hey, a certain about of  cynicism and attitude needs to be demonstrated to get your hackers badge from me at the end of term, and reading Joel and Eric
will help enormously.

We will do our best to briefly discuss these articles in class given time but you should read them either way.

Week 1  

Friday - The Tale of J. Random Newbie (2 pages), The Art of Unix Programming, chapter 16, section 1, Eric S. Raymond.

Week 2 

- Biculturalism, (3 pages) and The Joel Test: 12 Steps to Better Code, (9 pages), Joel Spolsky

Week 3

Friday  - Philosophy [PDF](15 pages), chapter 1 of The Art of Unix Programming, by Eric S. Raymond.

Week 4

Friday The Perils of JavaSchools, (6 pages) and  The Law of Leaky Abstractions, (5 pages), Joel Spolsky

Week 5

Friday - Craftsmanship, (4 pages), Joel Spolsky

Week 6

Friday-  Painless Functional Specifications - Part 2: What's a Spec?, (4 pages) and - Things You Should Never Do, Part I, (5 pages), Joel Spolsky

Week 7

Friday - Fire And Motion, (5 pages), Joel Spolsky

Since we love Joel's views in this class here is a talk he gave at google

Read it if you can -
Strategy Letter I: Ben and Jerry's vs. Amazon
, (7 pages), Joel Spolsky
Painless Functional Specifications - Part 4: Tips, (6 pages), Joel Spolsky
The Law of Leaky Abstractions, (5 pages), Joel Spolsky