Code Complete: A Practical Handbook of Software Construction, Second Edition by McConnell, Steve (2004) Paperback Paperback
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This book is worth a read for all of us, at any level. Ok, maybe a beginner wouldn't get it, but if you've been hacking code long enough to know the modern languages are abstractions and simplifications of what came before then you'll read through the parts that seem less obvious.
Maybe or maybe not a spoiler, but if in doubt, try writing a test case, see how it pans out. Simple and obvious. Most of what is in this book is simple and obvious, but then we do all need that pointing out often and frequently!
It's not a bible of coding, there is no such thing, but it is something we should all have a go at. I didn't rail against anything Steve had to say (unlike, say, Cooper), but that isn't to say he or I are right. I do think he is sticking to making sensible observations about what he thinks is worth saying from a lifetime of coding, as oppose to trying to be exciting. For that alone, I recommend him.
Massive read though :)
I also purchased the second edition digitally, but after 5 years of purchasing this I still have the physical copy and occasionally read through it.
I would recommend also reading Test Driven Development by Example and Clean Code.
Every company that develops software products should have this in their library: you do have a library of software development books don't you?
This last should be the 13th Joel Test.
I have followed the citations back to some of the studies and books that are cited in Code Complete and you can trust me that Steve McConnell has transformed some pretty dry material into something that is very readable and incredibly well cited (especially all of the hard data).
This is a book you read if you want to take software development seriously.
At first I thought he was being a little too thorough by backing up almost every piece of advice with hard evidence / research statistics etc. But, by reading a chapter by night and working at the 'programming coal face' by day, I have found myself seeing real benefits from that 'teaching approach'.
Whilst programming I often ask "Shall I do this, shall I do that?", I find it very easy to recall not only which solution is best, but why. Its liberating to make a decision based on my own judgement, rather than "just cos some guru said so in a book".
He doesn't give you a set of recipes, but a set of tools and principals and I cannot think of anyone who would not benefit from having this on their bookshelf.