Joel Spolksy has a new, unfortunately all-too-brief, article out: Craftmanship. As most of Joel’s articles, this should be required reading for any shareware developer.

It comes down to an attribute of software that most people think of as craftsmanship. When software is built by a true craftsman, all the screws line up. When you do something rare, the application behaves intelligently. More effort went into getting rare cases exactly right than getting the main code working. Even if it took an extra 500% effort to handle 1% of the cases.

Reminds me of when I moved away from home and asked my father (a master carpenter) to check out some furniture I was considering for my apartment. He always reached underneath to check if there were any rough edges – and there always were. He said a true craftsman always sandpapers all edges, even the ones nobody can see.

“But no one else would know!”

He would know.”