The Old New Thingby Wojciech Adam Koszek ⋅ Dec 7, 2012 ⋅ East Palo Alto, CA
After Joel Spolsky's writing, Chen writings were among my favorites, as they too gave enough insight into the technical and non-technical stuff. He is a great software engineer and a very good writer too. Can recommend highly enough. By the way -- I enjoyed it even though I'm not a Microsoft software stack person.
First time I learnt from Raymond Chen from Microsoft blog articles, and I wished there was a book with his blog entries, so that I don’t have to stare at LCD.
And there was.
Really nice walk-through around why Windows is the way it is, and how many problems Windows development team had to solve, in order to deliver a successful product.
“USB cart of death” and 20-feet long computer is something I could potentially advertise and try out in a company, as a part of daily job. We’ll see. Sounds like testing at Microsoft was a really import part of the product cycle (which only confirms stuff from “Showstopper”).
I skipped most of the source-code snippets and more technical chapters about Win32 window management.
However other chapters mentioned what I could name to be “the real software engineering”, which unlike “code typing”, is about delivering final products to customers and responding to their needs.
Surprisingly high ratio of reports Windows team was getting were from governments, who believed something that is present in Windows doesn’t agree with their “policy” or “views”, and Windows team was made responsible for fixing that.
I was, of course, impressed by the backward compatibility policy. I think just like Intel’s x86, I think the backward compatibility is what kept and still keeps Windows ahead of competition. Being able to upgrade systems and have your old favorite apps working just fine is something that I, as I user, really care about. And Microsoft probably too, since costs of upgrading to un-compatible OS would to too high for their customers to cope with.
I highly recommend to anybody willing to write commercial software, but especially to all UNIX users, who are bashing Windows and Microsoft without knowing anything from “back stage”.