"A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away . . ." Well, actually it was late in 2000, during Apress's first full year of operation. We were a tiny little computer book publisher then, with little name recognition, and we planned to publish only a handful of books that year—roughly as many books for that whole year as Apress now publishes in a single month.

I was learning the hard way about how to be a publisher and probably spending way too much time looking at web sites and programming than I should have in response to that. Anyway, one day I came across this web site called Joel on Software, which was run by a guy with strong opinions and an unusual, clever writing style, along with a willingness to take on ...

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