For the umpteenth time, I found myself dependent on a code library which had a crashing bug that was unacceptable in code I shipped. What are you supposed to do if you’re the chef at Les Halles and your fishmonger is giving you smelly fish?

Working on CityDesk, Part Four

(Tip: to search the Microsoft knowledge base using Google, add site:support.microsoft.com to your query.)


James Pryor is a popular young Harvard philosophy professor who shows The Matrix in class to illustrate points about Epistemology. His article Guidelines on Writing a Philosophy Paper is one of the best tutorials on any kind of writing:

Pretend that your reader is lazy, stupid, and mean. He’s lazy in that he doesn’t want to figure out what your convoluted sentences are supposed to mean, and he doesn’t want to figure out what your argument is, if it’s not already obvious. He’s stupid, so you have to explain everything you say to him in simple, bite-sized pieces. And he’s mean, so he’s not going to read your paper charitably. (For example, if something you say admits of more than one interpretation, he’s going to assume you meant the less plausible thing.)

I can think of no better advice for the kind of writing that programmers should be doing in designing and documenting their code.

About the author.

I'm Joel Spolsky, co-founder of Trello and Fog Creek Software, and CEO of Stack Overflow. More about me.