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Code Complete: A Practical Handbook of Software Construction, Second Edition [Paperback]

Steve McConnell
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (208 customer reviews)

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Book Description

June 19, 2004 0735619670 978-0735619678 2nd

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 body of knowledge available from research, academia, and everyday commercial practice, McConnell synthesizes the most effective techniques and must-know principles into clear, pragmatic guidance. No matter what your experience level, development environment, or project size, this book will inform and stimulate your thinking—and help you build the highest quality code.
Discover the timeless techniques and strategies that help you:

  • Design for minimum complexity and maximum creativity
  • Reap the benefits of collaborative development
  • Apply defensive programming techniques to reduce and flush out errors
  • Exploit opportunities to refactor—or evolve—code, and do it safely
  • Use construction practices that are right-weight for your project
  • Debug problems quickly and effectively
  • Resolve critical construction issues early and correctly
  • Build quality into the beginning, middle, and end of your project

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Code Complete: A Practical Handbook of Software Construction, Second Edition + The Pragmatic Programmer: From Journeyman to Master + Clean Code: A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship
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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: 9.2 x 7.4 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (208 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,254 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I am founder and CEO at Construx Software (www.construx.com). 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
94 of 94 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderfully practical guide to programming 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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266 of 285 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great S/W Dev't Guide Got Even Better 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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120 of 129 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The definitive book on software construction. August 4, 2006
By Steven
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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Design is also covered, despite the word "code" in the title
My first (rash) reaction to this book was unfairly negative, because of the word "code" in its title. Read more
Published 1 day ago by Prof
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
fast delivery and excellent book state quality
Published 11 days ago by Gennady Khokhorin
5.0 out of 5 stars No.1 book for junior/entry level devs
it might be helpful as well for senior devs, but i'm pretty sure if you take this one as your first read right after you start working out of college, you will see the differences... Read more
Published 25 days ago by Justin Li
1.0 out of 5 stars poorly designed book
trying to read it on kindle for iPad... its fairly unusable. whoever designed this book was completely clueless on how to do this.
Published 1 month ago by Helmut Messerer
2.0 out of 5 stars BUYER BEWARE OF KINDLE EDITION: NO TOC
I recommend this book, but only the print edition. It has 35 chapters across 960 pages, on Kindle that amounts to 25,480 locations, and it has no Table of Contents. Read more
Published 1 month ago by A. Wilson
4.0 out of 5 stars TOC is missing
Table of contents not available on PC kindle. I had to create my own pseudo table of contents by adding notes
Published 2 months ago by DKomen
5.0 out of 5 stars Even after 20 years as a software developer, I got quite a bit from...
This book is about the overall end-to-end process of creating software. Although the author might be a bit too focused on object-oriented software techniques, he otherwise does a... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Joshua Davies
5.0 out of 5 stars The book focuses mainly on the coding and style aspects of software...
The book focuses mainly on the coding and style aspects of software engineering. This book was a pretty good to read.
Published 3 months ago by Mykhaylo Stepanyak
3.0 out of 5 stars I fell asleep at the third chapter.
I found this book to be very dry. Most of what it tells you is common sense if you've been in the field for a couple of years.
Published 4 months ago by Daniel Ochoa
5.0 out of 5 stars perfect
the book is in perfect condition and is the exact book that i wanted to purchase. thank you so much
Published 4 months ago by Cody Kuykendall
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Topic From this Discussion
What's so great about this book?
You have a terrible attitude for a programmer - to paraphrase a quote from Code Complete that might put your problem into perspective: "You don't write code for the computer - you write code for people." You are (somewhat) correct in what you say, but you are not taking into account why... Read More
Jul 11, 2007 by William D. Stepp |  See all 6 posts
Compare with first edition
I have both editions. The basics are the same, but this edition has been updated for more modern programming techniques, specifically OOP. McConnell very briefly touches on XP techniques (maybe fodder for a third edition 5-10 years down the road?).
Jun 14, 2006 by Michael K. Daniel |  See all 2 posts
Good for beginners?
"Code Complete" is not a book for beginners-I'd wait to read it.

In my opinion, I believe the "Head First" series (published by O'Reilly) are excellent books for beginners.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/series/93629/ref=pd_serl_books?ie=UTF8&edition=paperback
Jun 10, 2009 by James |  See all 2 posts
Kindle edition eventually? n/t
We can only hope they'll be one.

I had the 1st edition and threw it away years ago when I was moving. I had every intention of buying the 2nd edition to replace it, but have yet to do so. If a Kindle version were made, I would buy it today.

I have the same issue with another book called... Read More
Jun 15, 2010 by Steven A. Fletcher |  See all 2 posts
A Focus?
The languages used in the book's code samples are C++, Java, and Visual Basic.
Nov 5, 2007 by D. Musgrave |  See all 2 posts
A book to rapidly help your career as a Software Developer Be the first to reply
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