Code Complete 2



Code Complete 2

When asp.netPRO Managing Editor, David Riggs, contacted me to ask if I would be interested in reviewing Steve McConnell s second edition of his award-winning book, Code Complete, I enthusiastically pounced at the chance without hesitation. Like many computing professionals, I bought and devoured the first edition more than 10 years ago and continued to reference it throughout the shifting sands of the software development landscape. However, as time passed and coding practices and methodologies evolved with the languages they were projected upon, the book began to show its ideological age. Thankfully, McConnell has once again imparted and distilled his software engineering wisdom into a handbook that no serious IT professional should be without.


Nine key benefits are listed in the book s preface, each of which are faithful to the author s claims. Some of these key benefits are a complete software-construction reference, ready-to-use checklists, a larger perspective on software development, and the absence of hype. The book methodically guides readers via a top-down approach, from the big foundational picture and design, then submerging into the atomic level of proper variable and statement naming and use, to finally resurfacing into the broader world of code improvement (QA, testing, debugging, refactoring, and tuning), system considerations (sizing, integration, and tools) and culminating in the wetware world of software craftsmanship.


Like a good business book, Code Complete 2 is loaded with, Oh yeah, I knew that reminders that are practiced less frequently than most readers prefer to admit. I had to chuckle when reading the recommendation on naming loop indexes using the classically named variable i . This shoddy practice can be blamed on CS-101 courses that imprint this loop variable naming convention on programming newbies. Like so many other reflections throughout the book, the naming recommendation reinforces a common theme: write code with the same care and consideration as that of writing a tremendously important document. The more clarity and structure one can refine, the better.


Besides the complete makeover, this new edition replaces the out-of-fashion C and Pascal code samples with a heavy dose of C++, moderate use of Java, and a sprinkling of Visual Basic. Like the first edition, the language used for these examples is secondary to the primary intent of the principle being demonstrated. The power of the network has also been leveraged, as the margins occasionally reference the book s Web site direct URL path to the concept or checklist being presented. And like McConnell s past books, the accompanying Web site (written in PHP served from an Apache Web server) is just as valuable a reference as the book itself. However, unlike past book Web sites, the site requires visitor registration or Construx Web site membership before opening its treasure chest.


Code Complete 2 is a book that will ensure the visibility of Steve McConnell s name on any developer s computing bookshelf. Every page offers pragmatic insight gained through years of effective coding experience and continues to be the principal handbook of software construction success for its practitioners. Project leaders should read this book cover to cover, and then purchase a copy for each of their direct reports. Software quality in your projects will indubitably increase as a result.


Mike Riley



Title: Code Complete 2

Author: Steve McConnell

Publisher: Microsoft Press

ISBN: 0-7356-1967-0

Book Web Site:

Price: US$49.99

Page Count: 914 pages



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