Articles tagged in joel on software

  1. Is Joel Spolsky Overrated?

    When I was getting through my feeds today, I spotted this comment, in the context of Joel Spolsky discounting the enterprise-readiness of Ruby-on-Rails and David Heinemeier Hansson responded with an attack.

    Spolsky writes well, but I find the self-promotion for Fog Creek more than a tad irritating. He makes absurd claims about hiring only rock-star talent, but in the end, what does his company produce? A bug-tracking system, not exactly rocket science, and a user-friendly wrapper around VNC. I don't have the slightest clue about Windows programming, but even I could produce a stripped-down version o UltraVNC from source in about 2 days' work.

    Personally I like what Spolsky has written, but I could not help myself complying with that comment. He has written many articles on sourcing only the great developers to work at Fog Creek Software, providing them private offices, as though Fog Creek is full of code hacking superstars. Then you looked at their product -- a web-based bug tracker coded in a proprietary programming language, a simple web publishing software for static contents, and a remote access built on top of VNC. Nothing revolutionary -- certainly not the kinds you expect from a team of superstars.

    So the question is, is Joel Spolsky overrated? Or maybe his ace team still have that killer application in the cooking?

  2. Elastic tabstop that ends the holy war?

    Via Joel on Software, Elastic Tabstops is an attempt to use expanding/elastic tabstop characters to solve the tab-vs-space issue.

    Yup. Tab or space. Or in the case of "space" -- how many space characters? Also recently debated on wp-hackers mailing list when Matt released the WordPress coding style, every single programmer seems to have his/her own style. For me, a Python programmer who follows PEP 8 religiously, I like my code to have 4-space shift and every single line has to fit into 80 columns. Somehow it also affects me when I code in other languages...

    Now back to elastic tabstops. It is basically trying to create "tables", and it introduces the concept of "columns" together with "rows" or "lines" of text. A <TAB> character puts the following text into the next column on the same row, so that text in the same column aligns properly vertically. A new line character basically starts a new table with a different set of column width. Very neat.

    Don't think it is going to work too well with older editor that has fixed tab width. Not sure how it handles complex situations like "column-span" to allow omitting a tab or two.

    I'll stick with my Vim 7 for now :)