REVIEW - Code Complete - A Practical Handbook of Software Construction

Title:

Code Complete - A Practical Handbook of Software Construction

Author:

Steve McConnell, Steve M. McConnell

ISBN:

1556154844

Publisher:

Microsoft Press (1993)

Pages:

857pp

Reviewer:

Francis Glassborow

Reviewed:

February 1994

Rating:

★★★★★

This book is about writing good source code so that you will finish up with a sound, robust product.

This is not a book about writing either C or C++ code, nor is it a book about writing assembler code. It is a book that all serious programmers should read.

You may not always agree with the author but read first, think about it and then either change your ways or write a clear explanation of why you are not going to do so.

The book is about the code writing part of application development. While (some) employers are willing to spend time and resources on the analysis, design and testing phases of software engineering very few do very much to improve the code writing methodology used by their teams. The common argument is that proper analysis followed by good design is where the money can be saved.

Such attitudes are completely contrary to any form of normal engineering experience. If you follow this set of priorities you finish up with the kind of product that made Sinclair (in)famous. Good products must not only be well designed but well made. The main element of a piece of software is the source code.

This book is about writing good source code so that you will finish up with a sound, robust product. I find a certain irony in its publication (along side Writing Solid Code ) by Microsoft Press. Perhaps this is another case of Microsoft making their inhouse tools available to the rest of us, but in this case they need to make this book required reading for all their software developers.

This is not a reference book, so having read it you should pass it on to another needy reader (perhaps even donate it to your local library with one of our new book plates stuck inside).


Book cover image courtesy of Open Library.