Monday, July 04, 2005

The Joel Test

At the end of the day, after all is said and done, the most important aspect of software is the code.

It's utterly amazing how many IT people try, with all their might, to stay as far removed from the code as humanly possible. One individual, however, who advocates in favor of the importance of code is Joel Spolsky, author of Joel on Software.

To call Joel a former paratrooper would be accurate but misleading. He served in the Israeli army and co-founded a kibbutz, but he didn't jump out of airplanes, he was pushed. Joel and his family bought the first IBM PC in Israel, and when he moved back to the U.S. and completed college, he went to work on Microsoft's Excel development team, still a strong influence on his opinions on software development.

Below is an excerpt of one of his most-read essays:
12 Steps to Better Code
By Joel Spolsky
Wednesday, August 09, 2000
  1. Do you use source control?
  2. Can you make a build in one step?
  3. Do you make daily builds?
  4. Do you have a bug database?
  5. Do you fix bugs before writing new code?
  6. Do you have an up-to-date schedule?
  7. Do you have a spec?
  8. Do programmers have quiet working conditions?
  9. Do you use the best tools money can buy?
  10. Do you have testers?
  11. Do new candidates write code during their interview?
  12. Do you do hallway usability testing?


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