Mike Riley

October 30, 2009

3 Min Read
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CodeComplete 2

When asp.netPROManaging Editor, David Riggs, contacted me to ask if I would be interested inreviewing Steve McConnell s second edition of his award-winning book, CodeComplete, I enthusiastically pounced at the chance without hesitation. Likemany computing professionals, I bought and devoured the first edition more than10 years ago and continued to reference it throughout the shifting sands of thesoftware development landscape. However, as time passed and coding practices andmethodologies evolved with the languages they were projected upon, the bookbegan to show its ideological age. Thankfully, McConnell has once againimparted and distilled his software engineering wisdom into a handbook that noserious IT professional should be without.

 

Nine keybenefits are listed in the book s preface, each of which are faithful to theauthor s claims. Some of these key benefits are a completesoftware-construction reference, ready-to-use checklists, a larger perspectiveon software development, and the absence of hype. The book methodically guidesreaders via a top-down approach, from the big foundational picture and design,then submerging into the atomic level of proper variable and statement namingand 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 softwarecraftsmanship.

 

Like agood business book, Code Complete 2 is loaded with, Oh yeah, I knewthat reminders that are practiced less frequently than most readers prefer toadmit. I had to chuckle when reading the recommendation on naming loop indexesusing the classically named variable i . This shoddy practice can be blamed onCS-101 courses that imprint this loop variable naming convention on programmingnewbies. Like so many other reflections throughout the book, the namingrecommendation reinforces a common theme: write code with the same care andconsideration as that of writing a tremendously important document. The moreclarity and structure one can refine, the better.

 

Besidesthe complete makeover, this new edition replaces the out-of-fashion C andPascal code samples with a heavy dose of C++, moderate use of Java, and asprinkling of Visual Basic. Like the first edition, the language used for theseexamples is secondary to the primary intent of the principle beingdemonstrated. The power of the network has also been leveraged, as the marginsoccasionally reference the book s Web site direct URL path to the concept orchecklist being presented. And like McConnell s past books, the accompanyingWeb site (written in PHP served from an Apache Web server) is just as valuablea reference as the book itself. However, unlike past book Web sites, thecc2e.com site requires visitor registration or Construx Web site membershipbefore opening its treasure chest.

 

CodeComplete 2 is abook that will ensure the visibility of Steve McConnell s name on anydeveloper s computing bookshelf. Every page offers pragmatic insight gainedthrough years of effective coding experience and continues to be the principalhandbook of software construction success for its practitioners. Projectleaders should read this book cover to cover, and then purchase a copy for eachof their direct reports. Software quality in your projects will indubitablyincrease as a result.

 

Mike Riley

 

Rating:

Title: Code Complete 2

Author: Steve McConnell

Publisher: Microsoft Press

ISBN: 0-7356-1967-0

BookWeb Site: http://www.cc2e.com/

Price: US$49.99

PageCount: 914 pages

 

 

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