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Code Complete

4.24 of 5 stars 4.24  ·  rating details  ·  3,923 ratings  ·  191 reviews
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 ...more
Paperback, 2nd Edition, 914 pages
Published June 19th 2004 by Microsoft Press (first published 1993)
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The Pragmatic Programmer by Andrew HuntThe  C Programming Language by Brian W. KernighanDesign Patterns by Erich GammaStructure and Interpretation of Computer Programs by Harold AbelsonRefactoring by Martin Fowler
Essential Programming Books
6th out of 109 books — 243 voters
The Pragmatic Programmer by Andrew HuntClean Code by Robert C. MartinCode Complete by Steve McConnellRefactoring by Martin FowlerWorking Effectively with Legacy Code by Michael C. Feathers
Software Craftsmanship
3rd out of 19 books — 60 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jon Fuller
Code Complete 2... A Review

One-liner: Read it. 3.5 stars

I came into this with super high expectations. Things I'd heard people say: "I make everyone on my team read this." or "Every developer should start with this book". So, I thought, "sweet, a great 'back to basics' book... I can't wait!". I read through this book with a host of colleagues all with quite different experience levels and in different areas of expertise.

It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.

Well... maybe not the wo
...more
Erika RS
Code Complete is a massive work, so this summary is, necessarily, very high level. It is not a book that one can absorb completely in one reading, but one can absorb its high level themes (summarized nicely in the second to last chapter).

"Conquer Complexity". High quality code manages complexity. No one can think of all of the levels of abstraction needed to fully understand a program at once; just admit it and try to make your code less complex. Complexity can be managed at every level of the
...more
Jennifer
Steve McConnell's Code Complete 2 is a classic piece of literature in Software Development. I joined a book club for reading this book, and the discussions along the way were some of the most valuable I've had. It was very rewarding to me to see many of the pieces of advice given reaffirming my own coding practices and the way things are done here at SEP, but I certainly took some new information away. One of the main lessons taught throughout the book is that code should be easy to understand. ...more
Vasily Fomin
May 28, 2011 Vasily Fomin rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: programmers, IT-professionals

После повторного прочтения данной книги окончательно убеждаюсь в том, что данная книга должны быть прочитана, как минимум раз, каждым развивающимся разработчиком, менеджером связанным с разработкой, и тем, кто так или иначе связан с областью разработки.


Мое мнение может быть предвзятым, так как на момент написания - это единственная книга по разработке, которую я прочитал, но могу сказать, что автору удалось пролить свет на разработку как таковую, и мне, как начинающему разработчику она очень пом

...more
Joel
Steve McConnell's Code Complete is absolutely essential to every software developer. The lessons contained in Code Complete are based on solid, time-tested principles. The time spent reading Code Complete is time spent bettering your career as a developer.
Stijn
Terribly bloated. Long-winded and trivial. I do not get the high score for this book; in a related area, but much more crisp is Programming Pearls (it even engages your brain, imagine that).
Yehuda Prizont
The bible of practical programming.
I bought the first edition, read about 400-500 pages and then the book was lost in a move. A few years later I got the second edition and read it again from the beginning and probably got to something like page 700. I then moved overseas and once again the book didn't make it across the ocean. Therefore, I have to include a small disclaimer that I didn't read the whole book. It is close to 1000 pages.
I don't remember any useless or impractical chapter. The book
...more
Russell
Purchased this book as a textbook for a Software Engineering class at school. The teacher said he enjoyed it quite a bit and that we weren't going to reference it as much as he'd like (considering the other texts for the class). His comment piqued my interest. Upon finishing the first reading assignment I continued along to the next chapter. Like it so much I began the next and then halted, remembering the other reading I first needed to complete.

So, I finished the other book (Mythical Man Month
...more
Vladimir
So it’s a #1 must read programming book according to this poll on StackOverflow. That raises quite some expectations, and if you ask me, the book doesn’t really meet them.

I mean, it doesn’t even feel like a proper programming book - it’s written in some “Easy way to quit smoking for dummies” style. Every idea is explained verbosely, then illustrated with some numeric stats, then with a 3D chart, then with some real-life anecdote, then with a reference to a 1973 paper, and finally reiterated in a
...more
Rick Kober
When starting my first job out of college, part of the training was to read selected chapters from this book. The way that Steve McConnell presents the topics in story form made the reading effortless and even entertaining. Although I had initially suspected that the book reading was some useless filler task while they found something for me to do, looking back I probably learned more about programming on a team than I did during the first two years of college programming courses.

The book tackle
...more
Robert
Excellent book on software development. I read the first version years ago. It was well worth picking up the second version as a refresher. The book covers everything from personal character to how to format a for loop, it's a must read for improving your skills and to help you realize how far you still have to go.

The only problem I have with the book is the formatting. It's a nightmare of little quotes, references and key point icons (with a picture of a key - thanks...) cluttering up each page
...more
Jim
Well, it's definitely long. If you've been programming for a while, and haven't read this (like me), then you'll find it to be a good structured outline of what you're doing already, with quite a few new things sprinkled in.

For a recent grad, I think this book will be filled with lots of information that can help the new grad avoid the gotchas that had to be learned the hard way by other people.

I think Steve McConnell takes a fairly pragmatic approach in this book, in that he's for the most part
...more
Toby Reiter
Aug 27, 2007 Toby Reiter rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: programmers/developers
This book is a really good examination of low-level design of code. This older version was written before widespread adoption of Java, web development, or object oriented development. However, it's focus on well-designed routines (methods/functions) meant that the meat of the content was still highly useful and actually unencumbered by more hyped up features of more recent programming trends.

The new version, Code Complete Second Edition includes content about newer programming techniques, includ
...more
Alan Fay
I probably got less out of the book, having worked as a developer for a couple of years out of school, than say, a college student or somebody fresh out. Or maybe dinosaurs that are out of touch and need to get back into the game.

The second half of the book is pretty much a catalog of refactoring techniques. It's definitely geared towards the aforementioned audiences.

McConnell covers a few other topics, related to design, teamwork, testing, and configuration management, but doesn't go into dept
...more
Aaron Boushley
Nov 28, 2011 Aaron Boushley rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: beginning programmers
Shelves: programming
This book was a pretty good read. Most of what is discussed is extremely valuable information. Although with only 5 years of experience I felt like many of the points that Steve brought up were fairly obvious once you've been working as a Software Developer. If you are new to programming, want to move to a more professional level of programming or just plain have plenty of time on your hands this is a great book. However, if you already have a fair amount of experience developing software profes ...more
Sanjiv
It is a nice book but too MS-centric. Some of the things are
going to confuse you if you come from a different environment. For example, it took me a while to realize that the term "magic number" was used for hard-coded constants; in Unix, the magic number is used to identify file type as described in /etc/magic. Similarly, the author did not like the indentation standard use by Gnu. There was something he did not like about Kernighan and Ritchie either Overall, I still think it was a decent boo
...more
Senjutsu
Not terrible, but not great, this book has a much higher stature among Microsofties than is strictly deserved, and little visibility beyond that group. Says nothing in 960 pages that The Practice of Programming doesn't manage to convey more clearly and succinctly in 267. Ok as a supplement to the latter for those looking for longer justifications for the same recommendations, or those deathly allergic to Unixisms. Pointless otherwise.
Kevin Garner
"Code Complete" is a treatise on best practices for programming, centering primarily around the task of software construction. It provides advice relevant to programmers right now, even though the book's latest edition was published in 2004. The long shelf-life of this book is a tribute to its relevance as it emphasizes code readability and "coding for the maintenance programmer." The book also covers code tuning, testing, project scaling concerns, quality assurance, ideal programmer character t ...more
Andre T
Often regarded as the one book you must read if you care about programming well and I'm beginning to understand...

Only a five chapters in, I can see it's already improving not only my programming skills, but also with how to correctly deal with clients and bosses in order to minimize risk and increase productivity.

More thoughts on it will be posted later.

Nick Gotch
There's a lot of good stuff in here for new developers, which is why I gave it 3 not 2 stars. I thought some of it was a little dry and I'd already read of many of the practices the book mentions, which is why it didn't score higher with me. That said, it really is a good book for new developers.
Jim Crapia
Taking it for what it tries to do, this book is a must-read for anyone pursuing a career as a software engineer. While not perfect, McConnell builds not a reference but a mind set for responsible, sensible development, not just of software but of people who put it together.
Wilfredo Malazarte
Finally finished it after attempting it repeatedly over the past 8 years. Very good tips but EXTREMELY dense. If you want the TL;DR read the last 3 chapters. From there, you can then go through whichever chapters you want information on.
Alfredo Chavez
Some of McConnell points of view seem "completely wrong" when viewed from a post-agile era point of view. However, they reflect the sector where the majority of author's experience comes from: DoD contracting. You can hardly imagine a more demanding environment to make one's self a name.

Don't expect an Agile/Non-agile discussion here, even though the author has very specific ideas on the matter.

Do expect, however, very solid advice backed by hard data and tons of hands-on experience and academic
...more
Christophe Keromen
Jun 10, 2010 Christophe Keromen rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: every developer
The best book I read on the subject, ok I didn't read so many :-)
Many advises are advocated using statistics not only personal feeling
The author tries to take the best from each method avoiding religious commitment to one church
Nathan Glenn
McConnell uses personal experience along with hard data from many other researchers in industry and academia to show the reader how to write code quickly, efficiently, effectively, and bug-free.
Ronald Rajagukguk
This is the must read book for every programmer who want to start their very first career. Steve talks about how to write clean and readable code that will distinguish the good and bad programmer.
Andrew Dalgleish
This is probably in the top 5 of every good programmer's list of books that every programmer-to-be should read. I actually keep a copy of this in my bathroom.
Derek
This is were I learned to make well documented code.
I prefer to write code that is modular and easy to follow... ...easy for the next guy if necessary.
Danien
Lots of checklists that theoretically sound good for large teams and projects but the overhead may be too high for smaller projects.
Doug
This book focuses mainly on the coding and style aspects of software engineering. Any book by McConnell is worth the read.
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URL for online copy of book 1 37 Oct 26, 2011 01:50PM  
  • Refactoring: Improving the Design of Existing Code
  • The Pragmatic Programmer: From Journeyman to Master
  • Programming Pearls
  • Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software
  • Working Effectively with Legacy Code
  • Clean Code: A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship
  • Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs (MIT Electrical Engineering and Computer Science)
  • The Mythical Man-Month: Essays on Software Engineering
  • Test Driven Development: By Example
  • Joel on Software
  • The Practice of Programming
  • Effective C++: 55 Specific Ways to Improve Your Programs and Designs
  • Head First Design Patterns
  • Beautiful Code: Leading Programmers Explain How They Think
  • Refactoring to Patterns
  • Art of Computer Programming, The, Volumes 1-3 Boxed Set
  • Domain-Driven Design: Tackling Complexity in the Heart of Software
  • Compilers: Principles, Techniques, and Tools

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“Programmers working with high-level languages achieve better productivity and quality than those working with lower-level languages. Languages such as C++, Java, Smalltalk, and Visual Basic have been credited with improving productivity, reliability, simplicity, and comprehensibility by factors of 5 to 15 over low-level languages such as assembly and C (Brooks 1987, Jones 1998, Boehm 2000). You save time when you don't need to have an awards ceremony every time a C statement does what it's supposed to.” 3 likes
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