[A picture of private offices at Fog Creek Software] Alert! This ancient trifle retrieved from the Joel on Software archive is well-past its expiration date. Proceed with care.

Joel on Software

2001/06/27

by Joel Spolsky
Wednesday, June 27, 2001

Vacation

I'm going on vacation, back July 17th. Emails and phone calls will be responded to slowly, if at all.

Corporate
Gobbledygook

When I go to a company's web site and it says that their product "provides Internet-scale event routing solutions that seamlessly integrate information among Web services, applications and users," I want to barf. More specifically, I have no idea whatsoever why I should care, so I leave, and I don't come back.

Did you know that KnowNow is "enabling the real-time enterprise to fully leverage the Internet to drive revenue, reduce costs and enhance business relationships"?

What does that mean?! Who cares? Who are the morons who write this stuff? Tell me what it does! I'm a software designer! I'm your target audience, and I can't make head or tail of it!

(KnowNow is not the only company that has no ability to communicate using their home page. GrandCentral is equally inscrutable. "Grand Central provides a Web Services Network that enables companies to connect, integrate and manage their business processes with those of their partners and customers." Good for you. I already connect, integrate, and manage with my partners, thank you very much. If you can make it as far as the white paper, you'll see sentences like "At a feature level, the Grand Central Network provides four main categories of functionality." I think that means "Grand Central has four features." Maybe somebody thought that it didn't sound cool enough that way.)

I have a feeling that both of these products are interesting and useful. But listen, bubbie: if I can't understand it, and I've been writing software for twenty years, then I don't know who will. Rohit, Halsey: you're ruining your products because you can't explain in two sentences what they do in a way which would be meaningful to the people who are going to make the purchase decision.

Software Testing

Eugene Vinsky has been hard at work on a web site with everything you ever wanted to know about software testing (and then some!) Check it out at SQATester.com.

SmartTags

With all the uproar over SmartTags it's hard to believe Microsoft is actually going to ship with them, but I've disabled them on most Fog Creek web sites just to make sure.


Have you been wondering about Distributed Version Control? It has been a huge productivity boon for us, so I wrote Hg Init, a Mercurial tutorial—check it out!

Want to know more?

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About the author.

I’m Joel Spolsky, co-founder of Fog Creek Software, a New York company that proves that you can treat programmers well and still be highly profitable. Programmers get private offices, free lunch, and work 40 hours a week. Customers only pay for software if they’re delighted. We make Trello, which lets you organize anything, together, FogBugz, enlightened issue tracking software for bug tracking, and Kiln, which provides distributed version control and code reviews. I’m also the co-founder and CEO of Stack Exchange. More about me.

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