Code Complete: A Practical Handbook of Software Construction Paperback – Unabridged, 19 Jun 2004
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Widely considered one of the best practical guides to programming, Steve McConnell s original CODE COMPLETE has been helping developers write better software for more than a decade. Now this classic book has been fully updated and revised with leading-edge practices and hundreds of new code samples illustrating the art and science of software construction. Capturing the body of knowledge available from research, academia, and everyday commercial practice, McConnell synthesizes the most effective techniques and must-know principles into clear, pragmatic guidance. No matter what your experience level, development environment, or project size, this book will inform and stimulate your thinking and help you build the highest quality code.Discover the timeless techniques and strategies that help you: Design for minimum complexity and maximum creativity Reap the benefits of collaborative development Apply defensive programming techniques to reduce and flush out errors Exploit opportunities to refactor or evolve code, and do it safely Use construction practices that are right-weight for your project Debug problems quickly and effectively Resolve critical construction issues early and correctly Build quality into the beginning, middle, and end of your project
About the Author
Steve McConnell is recognized as one of the premier authors and voices in the development community. He is Chief Software Engineer of Construx Software and was the lead developer of Construx Estimate and of SPC Estimate Professional, winner of Software Development magazine's Productivity Award. He is the author of several books, including Code Complete and Rapid Development, both honored with Software Development magazine's Jolt Award.
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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.