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Code Complete: A Practical Handbook of Software Construction, Second Edition 2nd Edition

263 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 079-0145196705
ISBN-10: 0735619670
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Editorial Reviews

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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Product Details

  • Paperback: 960 pages
  • Publisher: Microsoft Press; 2nd edition (June 19, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0735619670
  • ISBN-13: 978-0735619678
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 2.2 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (263 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,225 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I am founder and CEO at Construx Software ( I've written Code Complete, Software Estimation, Rapid Development, Software Project Survival Guide, and Professional Software Development. I live in Bellevue, WA.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

175 of 176 people found the following review helpful By Alexandros Gezerlis on May 2, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The tragedy for books that become classics is that there are many more people who have heard of them (or perhaps also bought them) than people who have read them. In this case, the fact that Steve McConnell's "Code Complete" is approximately 900 pages long doesn't help, either. Even so, this is a book that not only deserves to be read, but also rewards multiple readings.

The Good: McConnell deserves credit for writing the first (and only?) readable encyclopedia of best practices on software quality, covering topics such as how to build classes, use data and control structures, debug, refactor, and code-tune. Yes, it would be nice if the book was updated to include substantive material on languages like Ruby or Python (cf. p. 65, Python "also contains some support for creating larger programs") but, in the words of Gertrude Stein, "Not everything can be about everything" -- though Code Complete does come pretty close. This book contains an astonishing number of practical points on a variety of topics. Here is a quasi-random selection: a) don't use booleans as status variables (chs. 5, 12), b) when you feel the need to override a function and have it do nothing, don't; refactor instead (ch. 6), c) when choosing variable names, avoid homonyms (ch. 11), d) if you decide to use a goto, indenting your code properly will be difficult or impossible (ch. 17), e) trying to improve software quality by increasing the amount of testing is like trying to lose weight by weighing yourself more often (ch. 22), f) make your code so good that you don't need comments, and then comment it to make it even better (ch. 32), and finally the oft-repeated g) you should try to program into your language, not in it (ch. 34). McConnell also sprinkles the text with classic words of wisdom, e.g.
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271 of 291 people found the following review helpful By Steve Bailey on July 23, 2004
Format: Paperback
It was a pleasure to find out that this book had been updated when I reads news of it. 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 solid, fantastic, expert instruction on designing from scratch, whether it's OO, writing better routines, psuedocode, nested loops, or at the higher level: agile methods, etc..
McConnell's 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.

Reading Software Construction material of this caliber, as compared to some, yet another, new book on a specific language that might look impressive to know, is what makes for a solid programmer.

Refreshing your overall S/W construction knowledge 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 rather thorough re-write of a S/W development staple.
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131 of 141 people found the following review helpful By Steven on August 4, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I don't know how much more I can say about this book that hasn't been said already but I will do my best to describe my experience with this book.

Have you ever looked at a class, or a method that seems to work fine but it just doesn't "feel" right? For some reason it seems as if that method or class may be hard to debug in the future or that the code is hard to understand. Or have you gone back to a class file you wrote months ago and you spend an awful lot of time trying to figure out what the heck is going on with that class file? Maybe the methods in the class are spaghetti like in nature, or maybe the names of your methods don't have a very good description so it's hard to figure out how everything ties together. I have had this problem. This book will teach you how to get out of those habits. You will learn what a solid class or method looks like. You will learn how properly naming your classes and methods can greatly reduce complexity in the long run. Everything is backed by hard evidence. I should also mention that this is just one chapter in this wonderful book.

This book really drills down proper programming practices. A lot of times you may read a passage and think to yourself "well, of course!"... but then you realize you don't practice what's contained in the passage you just read. This book is great for both new programmers and experienced programmers alike. New programmers benefit greatly because they will learn how to construct software properly without having to go through all of the hoops. Experienced programmers will also learn a great deal, as well as be reminded that some of their habits that they've developed over the years can hinder production and cause software development to become more complex then it really is.
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