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Code Complete (Best Practices)

4.28  ·  Rating details ·  7,179 Ratings  ·  342 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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Jon Fuller
Oct 04, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Erika RS
May 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: software, owned
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
Mark Seemann
Jun 21, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: software
All the while reading this book, I struggled with how to rate it here. In many ways, this is an extraordinary piece of work; it's extremely comprehensive, and reveals a remarkable level of insight.

This second edition is from 2004, and although obviously some of its content may seem a little dated, most of it still holds up well in 2015. Given that context, I find it difficult to find fault with most of the book. Much of the advice given is good advice, and as a programmer, you should adopt and i
May 16, 2014 rated it did not like it
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).
Vasily Fomin
May 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  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

Yevgeniy Brikman
Aug 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
A must-read for any programmer. Although I don't agree with everything in the book and a few parts feel out of date, it provides an excellent framework for how to think about programming and software engineering. It can help programmers of all experience levels to focus on the right things: that code is harder to read than to write, that managing complexity is the main goal of programming, and so on.

The book is filled with nuggets of wisdom. Some of my favorite quotes, some from McConnell, some
Aaron Boushley
Nov 07, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Sep 28, 2009 rated it liked it
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
Mar 29, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: swe
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
Alan Fay
Mar 17, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: owned, programming
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
Nov 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: programming
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.
Oct 03, 2009 rated it really liked it
It's a great book for fresher developers, as it contains a lot of practices and hard facts to back them up. I''m already aware of quite of bit that the book advocates so I wouldn't get as much out of it as a new developer. But having said that, I did get to learn bits and pieces here and there of stuff I hadn't thought about, so it's good. I guess the downside about this book is that it can be pretty long-winded in trying to explain why a certain practice is a good practice.
Inna Baikova
Jun 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Книга полезна разработчикам, которые хотят научиться писать качественный код. Но сама по себе в печатном издании книга очень объемна и поэтому ее не удобно читать или брать с собой, язык в ней академический, много сносок, поэтому под нее так легко уснуть. Похоже на чтение большого советского словаря) Между этой книгой и "Чистым кодом" дядюшки Боба, советую выбрать вторую.
Aaron Robson
Feb 22, 2018 rated it did not like it
Dreadful and dull, get the Pragmatic Programmer instead.
Lowell Paige Bander
I'd give a 1-star review to a book that was wrong, or that purported to be scientific and yet was absent of references. This book gets 2-stars because although there were a tiny handful of useful tips, the vast majority of the text was a stream of minutiae, such as an entire chapter on variable naming (Should you capitalize the first letter of method names? What about prefixing constants with "c_" vs making the whole name upper case?).

I've been reading a few articles lately about "tricks" for re
Tadas Talaikis
Jun 27, 2017 rated it liked it
All concept can be just added into few sentences, like, before you start programming, think (and predict) very well what functions you'll need, as not Mather how well you though, damn thing anyway will grow into something too complex. It is tempting to add features, but that's a suicide if those not thought off before the project. Complexities have tendency to fail.
Dec 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book should be mandatory for all computer science student and developer to be. A great receipe of writing Clean code and software craftmanship.
May 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Must read for all programmers! You will learn something useful in here, for sure
Seth Johnson
Jan 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: professional
This is a solid overview of the practice of software design at a low level: not how to solve problems with logical architecture, but how to organize code (or what the author calls "construction"). As of time of reading, I've been programming for fifteen years. For me, much of this was tread ground but I think reading this book would be as good as a year or two of practical experience, at the least, for a beginning programmer. It would certainly set them off on the right foot. If I'd read it a de ...more
Jaroslav Tuček
Aug 28, 2015 rated it it was ok
Code Complete is a highly regarded book in the software engineering industry and I approached it with pretty high expectations - however, the actual reading experience has turned into something of a nightmare for me. It took me almost a year to finish (several times seriously considering abandoning the effort), and I have to say this is probably the driest and the most boring book I've ever read.

Don't get me wrong, it's hard to find fault with the content itself - all of it is excellent advice,
Yehuda Prizont
Aug 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Erkut Demirhan
Feb 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cs-programming
This was my second attempt to read this book. The first time was 5 years ago, just after finishing my computer science degree. At that time, I had difficulty understanding importance of the ideas presented in the book. Eventually I lost my interest and stopped reading it.

After spending some time in the industry and facing with harsh realities of software development, I decided to give it a try again. This time I gained much more insight than my first reading. Because now I had a chance to refle
Rick Kober
Apr 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: technical
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
May 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Toby Reiter
Aug 27, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Henrik Warne
Sep 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
The focus of Code Complete is software construction, i.e. the coding part of software development. As Steve McConnell notes in the preface, "construction is the only activity that is guaranteed to be done". You can skip almost any step (requirements, testing etc), but if you don't write any code there is not going to be any software.

I bought my copy of the first edition of Code Complete in 1997, and I was immediately fascinated. I had never read anything like it before - a book that concentrated
Dec 19, 2007 rated it really liked it
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
Aug 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Nov 27, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: experienced developers
Shelves: nonfiction
Often called "'The Joy of Cooking' for coding", Code Complete is an excellent book that doesn't say HOW TO code, but is ABOUT coding. Considerations with project size and complexity, coding style, comments, testing strategies, even developer communication are all touched upon.

Many things won't click with people who don't have at least a year or two of development under their belt, but for any kind of programmer, this book contains many gems that are worth referencing for years to come.
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URL for online copy of book 1 52 Oct 26, 2011 01:50PM  
  • Refactoring: Improving the Design of Existing Code
  • Programming Pearls
  • The Pragmatic Programmer: From Journeyman to Master
  • Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software
  • The Practice of Programming (Addison-Wesley Professional Computing Series)
  • The Mythical Man-Month: Essays on Software Engineering
  • The Art of Computer Programming, Volumes 1-3 Boxed Set
  • Joel on Software
  • Test Driven Development: By Example
  • Working Effectively with Legacy Code
  • Beautiful Code: Leading Programmers Explain How They Think
  • Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs (MIT Electrical Engineering and Computer Science)
  • Head First Design Patterns
  • Refactoring to Patterns
  • Domain-Driven Design: Tackling Complexity in the Heart of Software
  • The Art of UNIX Programming
  • Clean Code: A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship
  • The Productive Programmer

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Best Practices (3 books)
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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.” 6 likes
“Heuristic is an algorithm in a clown suit. It’s less predictable, it’s more fun, and it comes without a 30-day, money-back guarantee.” 4 likes
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