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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 12 August 2007
This book contains simple, practical advice which all software developers can use to write more reliable, maintainable, better tested code. It is very easy to read, and manages to effectively convey the wisdom in what may at first seem like crazy suggestions.

The text covers how to avoid bugs in the first place (by using assertions and sensible API design) and how to use the weapons at your disposal to find them at the testing stage (by stepping through your code in a debugger). It's this final concept in particular in which Steve's ideas are both contrary to the practice of, and most likely to add value to, the majority of developers. If you adopt some of the practices recommended here, you are almost guaranteed to write better code.

As the book says, the rest is attitude. If you're looking at this book, you probably already want to write better code - and there's no better way to do that than to read this.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 23 November 2004
I'm a .NET developer and am just re-reading this now and I have to say its still quite relevant, your hearing great great advice on how to look at things and that cant be bad.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 23 April 2001
This is a great book.
Ignore some of the other reviews here which complain about Microsoft-centredness: it's not true, the book is about developing a philosophy which helps you to find and prevent bugs, about taking responsibility for driving the bugs out of your code.
I ask everyone who works for me to read this book, and I've used some of its concepts to help frame interview questions when I'm recruiting. It's become part of my way of thinking and I'm certain it helps me and would help any software engineer worthy of the title.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 1 July 2000
First, I think this book is an excellent read. Books of this type are often full of dense content with wildly overdone examples. This often makes it difficult to come away with a good idea of what action to take personally. Steve Maguire does a good job of avoiding this. I found the book easy to read with a few relevant examples used only to support the text. The addition of a few personal anecdotes from Steve's development days at Microsoft added to the character and was used to clarify his arguments.
One note of caution, however: this book was written in 1993 and despite the fact that it is aimed at programmers writing in ANSI C on any platform, I suspect that most readers will be writing for Microsoft Windows. Many of the tactics outlined in the book have been adopted by Microsoft in their C/C++ development tools so you may well already be using some of them. Of course, you may not really know why and I still think this book is required reading. The book also does not cover C++.
I wish I had read this in 1993; seven years later it hasn't had as much impact as it would have then. That said, using some of the techniques described inside, I even found a bug in some code I wrote this morning that might otherwise have remained hidden.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 16 June 2000
If you ever thought your code was nice and bug free look again after reading this book and reel in horror. Of course this book also shows how simple it is to fix those simple bugs that catch the unwary. I refer to this book almost as often as the Language Reference.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 27 July 1999
This book contains practical advice on how to write bug-free code. It covers a large number of guidelines which are generally applicable to all software development projects.
My only caution is that these techniques, when applied by novice programmers, is no doubt the source of much of Microsoft's code bloat. Also, encouraging the programmer to rely heavily on the source-level debugger can prevent developers from getting a real sense of the program's performance on user-level hardware.
Otherwise, a very good book and very useful advice, much of which I've been applying in my own projects.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 18 March 1999
This book should be required reading for every college graduate. It teaches real world programming techniques which should be in every C/C++ programmers bag of techniques. If more junior programmers would read and understand this book, I'd spent a lot less time debugging thier code when they just can't find some "obscure" bug.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 8 March 1999
This book is a must read for anyone serious about developing code. It doesn't say "DO THIS" or "DO THAT" but outines ideas and thoughts on how you can improve your code and write code that should have fewer bugs.
Good examples and easy to read. Even if you do not write in C, this book is a must have.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 7 January 1999
This book is not a programmer's desk reference. Those looking for a how-to tome should look elsewhere. What this book contains is practical advice and lessons learned about software construction and projects. Maguire is a proponent of the theory that good software doesn't just happen - it is the result of good processes, and in this book he explains how to create these processes in your work environment, whether your job is that of a line programmer, a lead programmer, or a software project manager.
It is essential that the reader be able to take specific lessons in the book - like the Macintosh Excel programming project refereneced by another reviewer - and relate them not literally, but in the context of their own problems and projects. This requires independent thought, and may account for some of the bad reviews. I seriously doubt that anyone who rated this book below three stars read and understood it.
A great book and worth every penny.
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6 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 23 November 1998
In the Preface of "Writing Solid Code," Maguire comments that he had never written a book before. Unfortunately, his lack of experience with writing a good technical manual is readily apparent. Much of the text revolves around examples of finding and correcting a bugs in the Macintosh Excel division of Microsoft. The text is awkardly written and his explanations are often obscure, especially to a beginning "C" programmer. It doesn't help matters that there is no difficulty rating assigned to this book; Writing Solid Code is definiately not written for the amateur, and beginners are unlikely to get much of value out of this text.
I suppose my biggest gripe is that this book is very light on content in comparison to other computer books that are available. A much better book on software engineering is Steve McConnell's "Code Complete," which costs only ten dollars more, and is available from Microsoft Press.
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