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A great S/W guide got better
on July 18, 2004
The book Pragmatic Programmer by Hunt and Thomas fell to the second spot on my most-frequent "read list" since receiving this new version of Code Complete, though they both serve slightly different goals with overlap.
CC2 is a great one-stop 'place' to go to when you want a great excuse to apply Stephen Covey's 'Sharpen The Saw' principle. This updated version has some great, fun to read and expert instruction on designing from scratch, whether it's OO, writing better routines, psuedocode, nested loops, or at the higher level: agile methods, etc..
His approach of talking to you, the programmer, is ideal: not too much humor, and an easy to read, but professional approach in the way he donates the contents of his brain: i.e. McConnell's lengthy experience in the field.
I read just a couple of paragraphs in a chapter before work one morning, and the advice I picked up saved so much time that same day. And it wasn't even specific to coding instruction. It was a piece of advice on a philosophy on how he personally determines how much upfront design he should settle on before coding.
Books like these are a little hard to muster up motivation once you first buy it and get the book on your shelf. Our motivation to do something comes from the picture in our head, or how something sounds, and at first you can't see how much good it will do to start spending precious time on it, as compared to some brand new book on a specific language that looks impressive to know.
But the truth is: refreshing your overall S/W construction techniques gives you so much more of your life back, because you will have way less bugs and a lot more fun maintaining the high-quality code you are now writing because of CC2.
I mentioned already that he covers OO, but I wanted to emphasize the excellent material he offers in this area. I am now seeing the benefit of measuring the quality of your classes by this guideline: are they true Abstract Data Types. ( rather than just trying to use the syntax that the language provides to its potential).
Great job on a pretty thorough re-write of a S/W development staple.