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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic & Essential Book for a Programmer
If you are a programmer, get this book ASAP! This will make you a better programmer and give you guidence for continual improvement. This is a great book!
The only bad thing about this book is that it is a little outdated (goes up to C language; does not mention C++ or Java), but I think Code Complete 2 is coming out soon (June 2004).
Published on March 7 2004 by S. Kubasek

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3.0 out of 5 stars "Code Complete" Considered Harmful for C Programmers
Although "Code Complete" is in many respects a worthwhile compilation of experience that is otherwise difficult to find in one place, when it comes to specifics of C programming its virtues are marred by numerous errors and un-C-like style. It is clear that the author had little experience, and was rather uncomfortable, with the language. Classic beginner...
Published on Jan. 31 2000 by Roger Miller


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic & Essential Book for a Programmer, March 7 2004
By 
S. Kubasek (Garfield, New Jersey) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Code Complete (Paperback)
If you are a programmer, get this book ASAP! This will make you a better programmer and give you guidence for continual improvement. This is a great book!
The only bad thing about this book is that it is a little outdated (goes up to C language; does not mention C++ or Java), but I think Code Complete 2 is coming out soon (June 2004).
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4.0 out of 5 stars Recommendation, Feb. 24 2004
By 
Slavisa Nesic (Serbia and Montenegro) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Code Complete (Paperback)
I am not jet finished reading this book, so maybe later I shall have some additional comments. The book is very old (copyright 1993), but it is valuable asset for professional programmer.
This book is the best example of the rule "the more you know the better is your benefit of reading a book". For example, although book does not deal with object oriented programming (as far as I read till now), even if you are professinal programmer who is in object programming you will get something that you very probably missed - a lot of important and fine details that will help you be a better programmer in object world. It is very hard to explain the profit you get with this book, but it is: you get your knowledge of coding polished to the maximum.
To return to the example of OOP (object oriented programming) this book will tell you about the cohesion of your methods (the book calls them traditional names, routines) and sorts of coupling; everything is the pure ground for OOP but from the perspective of traditional programming; even in OOP books you cannot find easily such explanations, and that done in traditional programming.
If you are a beginner, this book will show you how to name the routines and variables, will show you that statistically short routines of say 20 lines are more prone to errors per line of code than routines of 100 lines! Anyway, I do not want to spoil the pleasure of reading the book: don't expect too much from it, but if you are a brilliant programmer who appreciate precision and polishing of your knowledge, you will be on a right track if you choose this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Start from here, Dec 22 2003
By 
Edmon Begoli (Knoxville, TN United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Code Complete (Paperback)
Every serious programmer, or at least the one who wants to become one should read this book.
Book is supported with structured programming examples (Ada,C,Pascal), but the underlying principles that it is trying to present are as contemoporary as always.
I started my career as a programmer. As a novice I got to work on some (other people's) pretty crappy code that kept me up very long at night, and costed me a great deal of stress. Learning from that frustrating experience I asked myself - what is a good programming, and what would it take to learn how to be a great programmer/developer.
I discovered Steve McConnel's book, and it helped me a lot in getting there. It remained one of the milestones of my career.
This book will teach you a lot. It will show you a bad way to code, and the good way to do it. It will give you a great coding tips, and it will show you some, as the author calls them, "coding horrors". Moreover, it will tell you some great 80/20 rules that should help you with debugging, testing and refactoring focus.
It will definitely change you as a programmer - a lot. Do I need to say again that every serious programmer should read this book.
The only thing that I could wish for would be a reflection on
Object-Oriented programming and its good vs. bad practices.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Book I refer to again and again, Jan. 14 2003
By 
This review is from: Code Complete (Paperback)
I have been working as a software engineer for close to seven years, and have read many books on programming and software engineering. This is without a doubt the BEST book I have read about programming and software engineering that I have ever read. It is absolutely required reading for anyone that will be involved in writing code, reading code, or even working close to people involved with code.
This book is as close to perfect as you can get. I refer to this book very often, especially when an arguement comes up at work about how you supposed to do something. Just this week I referred to it about how the best way to conduct a code walkthrough is. The book pointed out several things that my group was doing wrong. Implementing some of the ideas in this book helped to make our code reviews more efficient.
I really like the examples and humor in the book. The writing is clear, and to the point. While quite a large book, it is both a page turner, and a great reference. Well organized, and to the point. I cannot say enough about how wonderful this book is. If I ever become a software manager I will buy a copy for every person on my team.
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4.0 out of 5 stars insightful and an easy read, Oct. 20 2002
By 
Sören Meyer-Eppler (Havixbeck Deutschland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Code Complete (Paperback)
This is an outstandingly good book about software construction techniques that lead to a sound, robust product. It starts with simple things like naming conventions, function layout and commenting methods, but covers the whole software development cycle of design, programming and quality assurance. Although it gives plenty of source code examples in several different programming languages, these are always short and easy to follow even for 'language foreigners'. Source code examples are only used to illustrate more general, important points, rather than specific implementation details. The author is careful not to force his personal style on you - which would be rather foolish considering the many 'religious' issues covered (naming conventions anyone? ;) ) - but presents his opinions supported by sound arguments that'll make even skeptics reconsider. The text is an easy read compared to more technical books and is covered with lots of very amusing short stories that highlight key points.
This book will be a great aid in keeping your and your coworkers' mental health while programming in a team under a merciless deadline.
If you are at all serious about programming - buy this book!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Still standing after all these years!, Oct. 18 2002
By 
This review is from: Code Complete (Paperback)
Considering the rapid-fire replacement/evolution of languages, versions, porgamming models, project management and design etc., it is good to see some of the most basic and direct things don't change.
Steve McConnell brings a wonderful, down-to-earth sensibility to a topic that is still not written about very often: software construction, aka building your code. I have to believe it's because he got it right the first time.
The tone is conversational, understandable and clear. The examples are presented in multiple languages, showing some differences between each, the pros/cons of one over another without becoming preachy but while still providing an approach for either that meets the objectives of the topic.
The beginner and the intermediate programmer need this book to get their coding skills up to speed quickly. The experienced programmer needs it handy to loan to the latest newbie and to refine a few bad habits with these well-defined reasons to change them. Project managers might want to look at large portions of this book if they want to try and understand why programmers become frustrated with their requirements, or lack thereof. Managers who have never been coders themselves would read it to begin to understand just what their developers are doing, why they ask the questions that they do, what their biggest roadblocks can be and why we become frustrated with unbridled & unchecked changes & feature creeps. It presents a good case for developing a flexible coding standard.
These days we have so much information coming at us on related but unique topics and are constantly trying to absorb new things that it is comforting to know that plain, old common sense survives. All in all, one of the best software books I have read, and that it is still in print and still of value cannot be overlooked. Having some of the best practices laid out for you makes it easier to remember them. Code well.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I wish I had read that book a year ago, Sept. 1 2002
By 
Boris Fontaine (Toronto, Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Code Complete (Paperback)
At my last job I was a programmer who was spending a lot of time debugging. Another programmer brought his copy of Code Complete one day and told me it was worth to buy it. It took me 6 months before I ordered a copy. I wish I had done it way faster!
The book is an encyclopedy about whatever a coder can deal with: how to tell about the quality of specifications, architectures, how to do routine design, how to name variables, how to commment code, how to build loops, how build and use data structures, how to deal with the boss, how to perform code reviews, how to test routines, how to debug, etc.
The author does not explain the topics thoroughly, but provides comments and links to numerous worthy references, including standards and subscriptions available from IEEE. I found it was sometimes necessary to dig into those references to quench my thirst for data.
Reading that book was a shocking revelation about the way I should I have performed my job before. I feel sorry for my boss.
If you are a coder and do not consider you had a top-notch education in programming, I recommend you to get that book right away, even if you have to borrow money to buy it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Your desert-island Software Engineering book (need update), Aug. 22 2002
By 
Chia-heng Yao "milesyao" (Houston, Texas) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Code Complete (Paperback)
This book sat in my office shelf for years until, after my last job, I sat down and read it from cover to cover.
I wish I had done so much earlier.
I won't repeat all the accolades from downstairs except to point out the following:
* The single most valuable thing about this book for me is his comprehensive synthesis of probably the entire history of SE thought up to this date. He not only quotes Brooks and Weinberg, but research data from study after study to back up every point he makes. He is consistently fair and candid, giving each different school of thought its due. Very often he presents not just the accepted p.o.v. but other, contrasting ones to give a full pro & cons picture of a given practice - most notable in his treatment of "gotos" (and we all thought it's a dead topic). Extensive yet unobtrusive cross-references point out relations between topics. And at the end, a full chapter of book recommendations and lists of other professional resources. The bibliography alone runs to 18 pages. This is the work of a generous man - not a man with an agenda, but a man that sincerely wants to help his fellow practitioners improve their trade.
* However, despite his textbook-like approach, this is not a boring book. His clear style and constant revelation of ideas keep things moving (I never thought a chapter about naming variables can be exciting :-)). Long on practical, down-to-earth ideas and short on jargons, this book is written for YOU and not your boss (or worse - his/her boss). The elegant, almost-better-than-O'Reilly layout of the book helps a great deal.
* Particular nuggets include the discussions on table-driven data design, data and routine naming, PDL for designing a single routine (and how it ties into the rest of the lifecycle), and a good example on 2 different ways of code sharing that now would fit into Martin Fowler's Refactoring book.
* ... Which brings me to what this book needs - UPDATE! Many of the issues raised in the book are addressed in the last 10 years (Java, design patterns, refactoring, Extreme Programming, new software metrics like function points, CMM, IDEs and CASE tools). New topics have also popped up (Open Source, the internet and modern distributed network apps) In particular, I'd like to see him dissect the whole OO legacy, now that it has matured. I'd also like to know how much of the research results still stand, now that large software systems seem so _qualitatively_ different.
* Lastly, there's one thing I still can't figure out - if Microsoft is using so much of his (impeccable) "best practices", why are their products still so worthless? :-)
All in all - an unhesitated BUY. For an up-to-the-minute supplement, you might try Joel on Software (joelonsoftware.com).
(My Fave Quote from the book: "If you work for 10 years, do you get 10 years of experience or do you get 1 year of experience 10 times?" - give THAT a thought!)
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5.0 out of 5 stars If you write code read this book, Feb. 16 2002
By 
Amazon Customer "bruinseve" (Torrance, ca United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Code Complete (Paperback)
Every programmer should read this book. If you have inexperienced programmers on your staff have them read this book. Then talk to them about some of the concepts in this book. Its amazing to talk to programmers who just don't get it. Why should I comment my code when it will just make me easier to replace? Why should I keep it simple, I can handle pointer arithmetic. Why does my code have to follow these guidelines?
Hopefully after reading this book they will see the light. Even if they don't if you follow up with them at least you will know what you are getting into by keeping them on staff.
I read a complaint about the code being in pascal and that it was out of date. That comment misses the point entirely. If we spend to much time looking through a microscope at the particuly current technology and only viewing our own sections of code we tend to lose track of the big picture. Good commenting and formating details may vary with languages and over time but the general principles outlined in the book will help you across languages long into the future.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A must-have (really!) for all coders, Feb. 9 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Code Complete (Paperback)
I can't say enough good things about this book. The programming community desperately needs some basic standards for how to write good code that is readable and extensible, and therefore time-saving and cost-conscious. In hundreds of pages of text worth reading, McConnell's thesis boils down to one simple point: Great code should be great bathtub reading. The reader should have a basic facility of the language, but if the reader can't decipher the code without having to flip extensively from page to page or carefully tracking variables, it isn't great code. This book provides many guidelines to writing good code. And it's not just theoretical: The author bases his tenets on behavioral research of programmers. More importantly, the practices outlined here are mostly common sense. Sadly though, these tenets are, in my experience, not very often followed. If you are a programmer and you are not following McConnell's basic guidelines, you are not good at what you do -- no matter how much you think differently. Whether you are a beginner or a pro, read it!
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