Why Software Sucks...and What You Can Do About It
Product Author Bios
David S. Platt runs Rolling Thunder Computing (www.rollthunder.com), an education and consulting practice. He has more than twenty years of experience as a programmer, teaches software development at Harvard University Extension School and at companies all over the world, and is a popular speaker at conferences. He is the author of nine previous books—including Introducing Microsoft .NET, Third Edition, The Microsoft Platform Ahead, and Understanding COM+ (all Microsoft Press)—as well as many journal articles and newsletters. In 2002, Microsoft designated him a Software Legend. Dave lives in Ipswich, Massachusetts.
“I’ve just finished reading the best computer book [Why Software Sucks...] since I last re-read one of mine and I wanted to pass along the good word. . . . Put this one on your must-have list if you have software, love software, hate programmers, or even ARE a programmer, because Mr. Platt (who teaches programming) has set out to puncture the bloated egos of all those who think that just because they can write a program, they can make it easy to use. . . . This book is funny, but it is also an important wake-up call for software companies that want to reduce the size of their customer support bills. If you were ever stuck for an answer to the question, ’Why do good programmers make such awful software?’ this book holds the answer.”
—John McCormick, Locksmith columnist, TechRepublic.com
“I must say first, I don’t get many computing manuscripts that make me laugh out loud. Between the laughs, Dave Platt delivers some very interesting insight and perspective, all in a lucid and engaging style. I don’t get much of that either!”
—Henry Leitner, assistant dean for information technology andsenior lecturer on computer science, Harvard University
“A riotous book for all of us downtrodden computer users, written in language that we understand.”
—Stacy Baratelli, author’s barber
“David’s unique take on the problems that bedevil software creation made me think about the process in new ways. If you care about the quality of the software you create or use, read this book.”
—Dave Chappell, principal, Chappell & Associates
“I began to read it in my office but stopped before I reached the bottom of the first page. I couldn’t keep a grin off my face! I’ll enjoy it after I go back home and find a safe place to read.”
—Tsukasa Makino, IT manager
“David explains, in terms that my mother-in-law can understand, why the software we use today can be so frustrating, even dangerous at times, and gives us some real ideas on what we can do about it.”A Book for Anyone Who Uses a Computer Today...and Just Wants to Scream!
—Jim Brosseau, Clarrus Consulting Group, Inc.
Today’s software sucks. There’s no other good way to say it. It’s unsafe, allowing criminal programs to creep through the Internet wires into our very bedrooms. It’s unreliable, crashing when we need it most, wiping out hours or days of work with no way to get it back. And it’s hard to use, requiring large amounts of head-banging to figure out the simplest operations.
It’s no secret that software sucks. You know that from personal experience, whether you use computers for work or personal tasks. In this book, programming insider David Platt explains why that’s the case and, more importantly, why it doesn’t have to be that way. And he explains it in plain, jargon-free English that’s a joy to read, using real-world examples with which you’re already familiar. In the end, he suggests what you, as a typical user, without a technical background, can do about this sad state of our software—how you, as an informed consumer, don’t have to take the abuse that bad software dishes out.
As you might expect from the book’s title, Dave’s expose is laced with humor—sometimes outrageous, but always dead on. You’ll laugh out loud as you recall incidents with your own software that made you cry. You’ll slap your thigh with the same hand that so often pounded your computer desk and wished it was a bad programmer’s face. But Dave hasn’t written this book just for laughs. He’s written it to give long-overdue voice to your own discovery—that software does, indeed, suck, but it shouldn’t.
Please visit the author's website at www.whysoftwaresucks.com.
Visit David Platt's Blog
28 of 33 people found the following review helpful
Finally someone speaks up for the silent majority!,
This review is from: Why Software Sucks...and What You Can Do About It (Paperback)I never heard of David Platt prior to reading this book. His title as a Harvard professor in software design prepared me for a dry and technical book on software design.
I'm happy to say there is nothing 'dry' or boring about Mr. Platt's writing style. The book is easy to read and you'll find yourself nodding along with the examples he gives. Why do we accept poor software design? I failed to even recognize bad software until Mr. Platt specifically pointed it out. At which point, I smacked myself in the head and said "of course!"
If you are an average computer user and wonder why things are the way they are, this book is for you. If you are a programmer who wants to write successful software that average computer users will praise, this book is for you.
On the other hand, if you are a technical user or programmer who can do no wrong, heaven forbid you pick up a book that has the potential to broaden your horizons.
In my opinion, this is one... Read more
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Very accurate, funny, and rather humbling (as a software designer)...,
This review is from: Why Software Sucks...and What You Can Do About It (Paperback)Although targeted towards explaining to ordinary people why computer software is hard to use, Why Software Sucks...and What You Can Do About It by David S. Platt is something that software developers would do well to read and understand how we blow it on a regular basis. Five words... The. User. Is. Not. You.
Contents: Who're You Calling A Dummy?; Tangled In The Web; Keep Me Safe; Who The Heck Are You?; Who're You Looking At?; Ten Thousand Geeks, Crazed On Jolt Cola; Who Are These Crazy B@st@ards Anyway?; Microsoft - Can't Live With 'em And Can't Live Without 'em; Doing Something About It; Epilogue; About The Author
Platt takes a look at software and web sites from the perspective of the user, someone who's just trying to get something done. And his overwhelming conclusion is... software sucks. In large part, this is because the computer geeks who design the software are completely mistaken as to who is the target user. They design something that works for... Read more
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Enjoyable Read for Anyone, but Aimed at the Non-Expert Software User,
This review is from: Why Software Sucks...and What You Can Do About It (Paperback)As an Engineering/Management professional who regularly works with software developers, I picked up this book hoping for an interesting read with maybe a few pearls of wisdom that might benefit someone in my position. I held no false impression of this being a management text; I was merely looking for insights. Also, I confess that I enjoyed the boldness of the title. (You marketing guys: always messing with our heads!)
In this regard, Platt did not disappoint. While essentially reaffirming much of the knowledge and many of the beliefs I held regarding software development and the truly creative people who do it for a living, the author tossed out enough new thoughts, peppered with a sense of humor welcome enough to keep me engaged.
Individuals not familiar with the process of software development will no doubt find the content even more illuminating. The author is spot-on in his assessment of where software developers go wrong, having witnessed it myself... Read more
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Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Who’re You Calling a Dummy? 9
Where We Came From 10
Why It Still Sucks Today 11
Control versus Ease of Use 13
I Don’t Care How Your Program Works 15
A Bad Feature and a Good One 19
Stopping the Proceedings with Idiocy 23
Testing on Live Animals 26
Where We Are and What You Can Do 28
Chapter 2: Tangled in the Web 31
Where We Came From 32
How It Works 34
Why It Still Sucks Today 37
Client-Centered Design versus Server-Centered Design 40
Where’s My Eye Opener? 46
It’s Obvious—Not! 52
Splash, Flash, and Animation 56
Testing on Live Animals 59
What You Can Do about It 61
Chapter 3: Keep Me Safe 65
The Way It Was 66
Why It Sucks Today 67
What Programmers Need to Know, but Don’t 71
A Human Operation 77
Budgeting for Hassles 80
Users Are Lazy 83
Social Engineering 87
Last Word on Security 92
What You Can Do 93
Chapter 4: Who the Heck Are You? 97
Where We Came From 97
Why It Still Sucks Today 98
Incompatible Requirements 99
OK, So Now What? 106
Chapter 5: Who’re You Looking At? 119
Yes, They Know You 119
Why It Sucks More Than Ever Today 122
Users Don’t Know Where the Risks Are 125
What They Know First 127
Milk You with Cookies? 129
Covering Your Tracks 140
The Google Conundrum 141
Chapter 6: Ten Thousand Geeks, Crazed on Jolt Cola 149
See Them in Their Native Habitat 149
All These Geeks 150
Who Speaks, and When, and about What 153
Selling It 158
The Next Generation of Geeks—Passing It On 161
Chapter 7: Who Are These Crazy Bastards Anyway? 169
Homo Logicus 170
Testosterone Poisoning 171
Control and Contentment 173
Making Models 175
Geeks and Jocks 177
Brains and Constraints 181
Seven Habits of Geeks 183
Chapter 8: Microsoft: Can’t Live With ’Em and Can’t Live Without ’Em 189
They Run the World 189
Me and Them 190
Where We Came From 193
Why It Sucks Today 195
Damned if You Do, Damned if You Don’t 199
We Love to Hate Them 203
Plus ça Change 207
Growing-Up Pains 211
What You Can Do about It 214
The Last Word 220
Chapter 9: Doing Something About It 223
1. Buy 224
2. Tell 229
3. Ridicule 232
4. Trust 233
5. Organize 237
About the Author 243
Downloadable Sample Chapter
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