We all have had the experience... Somebody opened our eyes at some point with a very good blog post about our work as developers. And from that day with strive to do a better job.

What was the most influential development blog post for you? And how did it effect you in realizing or doing something different from that moment on?

+8  A: 

One of my favorites would have to be Scott Berkun's blog post on "ADD" - Also known as "Ass-hole Driven Development" (and the gazillion other funny acronyms for frequently seen, but not so frequently documented methodologies ;-) (No, this is not offensive... it's a real good eye-opener! Go read it now, you'll love it. I guarantee it)

Johan Pelgrim
+12  A: 

Another one would be Joel Spolkey's post on "12 Steps to better code". Including the notorious Joel test, which can help you indicate if you're doing the right things in your project (and if not, you can fight or flight ;-)

This one helped me in realising that our company was beyond help. I helped implementing a few of the items in the Joel test, but at some point it's a lonely battle and I decided to quit my job.

Another related post (in my view) is the one titled "A Field Guide to Developers" which also helped me realize we weren't being taken serious by our management since a lot of trivial things (being able to order books, go on courses, get good hardware, etc.) were not trivial for us.

Johan Pelgrim
+2  A: 

"SQL Injection"? Wonder what that's about.

Just Some Guy
The first time I saw a clear example of how sql injection works, it was a real eye-opener, and I'm pretty sure it was a blog post somewhere that explained it.
Joel Coehoorn
+7  A: 

Yosefk, the man behind the also-excellent C++ FQA, wrote an excellent piece on Redundacy vs. Dependency that I think should be required reading for anyone about to start or manage a project:

I believe that there are just two intrinsic forces in programming:

You want to minimize redundancy and, ideally, define every piece of knowledge once. You want to minimize dependencies - A should depend on B only if it absolutely must.

Understanding the tradeoffs between redundancy and dependency are really what separate the good from the great in this field, IMO.

The extra n in "Redundnacy" is redundant. Or at least misplaced ;)
my fingers have a sense of humor today.
+4  A: 

How Microsoft Lost the API War

It made me realize I really needed to carefully evaluate the development software for my huge upcoming project.

Lance Roberts
I like this part of "Enter The Web":But there's a price to pay in the smoothness of the user interface. Here are a few examples of things you can't really do well in a web application: (next)
Almost all of those problems have now been solved.
+3  A: 

Every time I sit down to write a graphical interface, I am really just attempting to channel Joel's Interface Design for Programmers, which is a proper book, but the first few chapters are available online in blog format.

Who knew that a bread factory could be such a great place to learn programming?

+11  A: 

Joel on Software: Can Your Programming Language Do This?

Closures and functional programming just clicked.


For me, it wasn't a blog entry. It was the ORM Smackdown episode of DotNetRocks. It opened my eyes to a whole new way of doing things.

Mark Struzinski
Is there a link you could provide for that?
Joel Coehoorn
Never mind: I found it for you ;)
Joel Coehoorn
+1  A: 

A) Derik Whitakers post "What the &@$#* is a 'Best Practice' anyway?" - this made me realize that just because something is termed a "Best Practice" it doesn't mean that all other ways are crap.

B) Jeff Atwood's post "We Make Shitty Software.. With Bugs!" - I finally understood that even the "uber coders" aren't perfect. We all need to be constantly improving.

+1  A: 

OK, last one from me. Clay Shirky turns "Web 2.0" from meaningless buzzword to groundbreaking insight into the nature of organization:

Ontology is Overrated

+5  A: 

Don't forget one of the best Spolsky's ever:

+5  A: 

More of an article: Why Getters and Setters Are Evil


Mark Pilgrim's excellent blog series dive into accessibility.

It really opened my eyes towards what it means to build accessible web apps.

It's not recent, but it still mostly applies.

Joeri Sebrechts

A lot of Jeff Attwoods blog entries.

Most recently his what's wrong with Turkey entry.

Yeah, got to use that damn invariantculture ><

+3  A: 

I'm not sure if this counts, but Eric S. Raymond's The Cathedral and the Bazaar taught me a lot about open source development.

+3  A: 

This isn't exactly a blog post, but an essay posted on Peter Norvig's website back in 2001.
Teach Yourself Programming in Ten Years. I liked his "recipe for programming success." It's a short read and I think it's helpful if you need some ideas or direction in becoming a better programmer.

+3  A: 

Erik Sink's Source Control HowTo.

Bill the Lizard

Robert L. Read's "How To Be a Programmer" set me off on a course that I have thoroughly enjoyed mostly because it introduced me to two authors that really influenced me:

  • Pual Graham - His articles on lisp (not arc) encouraged me to learn LISP which has been a blast. From there I got into Ocaml, and Haskell, and Erlang.
  • Eric S. Raymond - His book "The Art of Unix Programming" was a great read and has greatly influenced my perspective on system design.

Honestly, I don't think I ever finished reading Robert L. Read's article.

Robert C. Martin also has a few articles that are still influencing the industry:

He has a bunch more up on his web site but these are the most often cited articles.

David Parnas is another author who wrote some timeless articles about Software Engineering. If you haven't heard of him, I'm sure you've seen him quoted a bunch (He developed the concept of information hiding and much more).


Note: I try to answer questions within the constraints given, but I felt that the original poster could best attain his goal (lasting improvement caused by an eye opening experience) by widening his "search" beyond blogs.

Tim Stewart

Eric Wendelin's "[blank] is a beautiful tool" articles set me on the path to understanding CLIs.

Duke Navarre
+1  A: 

Michael Abrash's graphics articles from 15 years ago (although not technically blog entries) made me realize that highly technical material could also be entertaining -- an approach I've attempted to apply to documentation.

Paul Graham's Hackers and Painters essay discussing the similarities between coding and fine art struck a chord.

I've always split my time between programming and music and Graham's essay reinforced my opinion that programmers should spend a significant amount of time engaging in other activities so that they have a basis for their art.

Timothy Lee Russell
His books were also excellent for this too.

The very first blog post I read--before such a term even existed really--what Joel's Controlling Your Environment Makes You Happy, which to me is the seminal developer-focused work on software usability and user behaviour that it should be a must read for every programmer who touches a user interface.


This was the All about Agile blog, in particular: 10 Key Principles of Agile Software Development .