Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Best Practices

Code Complete

Rate this book
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:

914 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1993

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Steve McConnell

20 books197 followers

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
4,676 (51%)
4 stars
3,000 (32%)
3 stars
1,108 (12%)
2 stars
262 (2%)
1 star
97 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 434 reviews
Profile Image for Erika RS.
715 reviews194 followers
February 4, 2016
Code Complete is a massive work, so this summary is, necessarily, very high level. It is not a book that one can absorb completely in one reading, but one can absorb its high level themes (summarized nicely in the second to last chapter).

"Conquer Complexity". High quality code manages complexity. No one can think of all of the levels of abstraction needed to fully understand a program at once; just admit it and try to make your code less complex. Complexity can be managed at every level of the development process from having a well thought out high level design to choosing good variable names.

"Pick Your Process". Having a process is important. It does not matter exactly what the process is; in fact, the process should be tailored to the problem at hand. The purpose of a process is to allow for coordination between people. When a project is small (1, maybe 2 people), then it is the talent of the individual that matters most. When a project is large, it is managing communication that matters most.

"Write Programs for People First, Computers Second". Computers do not care about programs being readable, but people do, and people are going to read your programs many time. Readable code has a plethora of advantages including lower error rates, being easier to debug and modify, and having shorter development time. Make code readable first, and only optimize when you can make measurable improvements to measurable performance bottlenecks.

"Program into Your Language, Not in It". Do not limit your programming by the features your language supports. Write libraries that will support the programming features you want for the problem at hand. One example McConnell gives writing an assertion library if your language does not support assertions.

"Focus Your Attention with the Help of Conventions". Conventions, like processes, do not matter in their particulars. Some conventions are better than others, but for the most part, conventions tend to be arbitrary. However, having conventions makes code easier to read and modify because a convention can communicate a lot without using much space or requiring much thinking.

"Program in Terms of the Problem Domain". This is a particular method of managing complexity. Higher level code should be supported by lower level code that hides implementation specific details from the higher level code. When done well, this makes the code easier to read and easier to modify. Even at the construction level, this can be done by choosing good class names and abstractions, factoring code into methods to maintain a common level of abstraction, and choosing good variable names.

"Watch for Falling Rocks". Look out for warning signs, such as classes with an abnormally high number of defects. These warning signs do not necessarily mean that something is wrong with that part of the program, but they are a good indicator that you should be a little bit suspicious. These warning signs could show up after construction (error rate) or during construction (compiler warning, indications from your self or other that your program is hard to understand).

"Iterate, Repeatedly, Again and Again". In addition to being my favorite section heading in the book, this principle emphasizes that iteration is appropriate at all points of the software development process. Requirements are rarely fixed in stone, bugs are always present, and developers can always find a better way to rewrite code. Iteration gives all of these improvements a chance to actually make it into the product under development.

"Thou Shalt Rend Software and Religion Asunder". No one convention, process, or tool set is the be all and end all of software development. Developers should be wary of absolutes and try to avoid blind faith in the processes they use. Solutions should be adapted to the problem at hand, not vice versa. The key to keeping an open mind and becoming effective and flexible is experimentation. Be willing to try new things, measure the effectiveness of those experiments, and be willing to change based on the results.

Those are the high level principles. These principles occur over and over again through the seven parts of this book. The first part, titled "Laying the Foundation" discusses the general process of software development and the role of construction (a.k.a. programming) in that process. Construction is important, according to McConnell, because it is the only part of the software development process that absolutely must happen to produce a working software project. Construction is also an area that, traditionally, has not has as much attention to it as other areas (such as high level design or testing). However, McConnell stresses that all parts of the development process are important in creating a successful project and gives pointers throughout the text to resources that discuss other parts of the software development process in more depth. He notes that pre-construction planning is particularly important since no amount of good construction and through testing can save a bad design.

Section two is "Creating High-Quality Code". This section introduces a point emphasized again and again throughout the book. Software's "Primary Technical Imperative" is managing complexity. High quality code exposes people reading it to consistent levels of abstraction separated by clear boundaries. Complexity is managed by minimizing the essential complexity one has to deal with at any given time and trying to keep accidental complexity from spreading throughout the code base. High quality classes and routines provide consistent abstractions, document their assumptions, and check their invariants defensively; they fail sooner rather than later. Even a simple class or routine is worthwhile if it decreases the complexity of reading the code where it is used.

One of the most practically useful facts I got out of Code Complete was learning about the "Pseudocode Programming Process". This process is a way of developing code by starting with detailed pseudocode. When constructing a program, a developer should (iteratively) write pseudocode that is high level enough to be in the domain of the problem but low level enough for translation to real code to be nearly mechanical. Developing pseudocode ensures that the developer understands the problem at a low enough level for implementation, encourages the programmer to think about error checking before implementing the nominal path through the code, may indicate what when to factor code into separate routines (and suggest names for those routines). Those parts of the high level pseudocode that the developer decides to leave in provide automatic, high level commenting of code.

The third section is entitled "Variables" and discusses the effective use of variables. The chapters in this section discuss data initialization (do it close as close to the declaration as possible), variable scope (keep it as small as possible), limiting variables to a single purpose, effective variable names (keep them specific, use a naming conventions), and tips for using fundamental and more complex data types.

Statements are covered in section four called, not surprisingly, "Statements". This section discusses methods for effectively organizing and using straight line code, conditionals, and loops as well as more exotic control structures such as exceptions, gotos, and various table driven control structures. This section discusses how deep nesting of control structures tends to make code complex. If possible, it should be avoided by restructuring the code or factoring the nested code into its own routine. The more paths there are through a code fragment, the more complex it is; the number of paths a developer must consider at a single time should be minimized.

Section five, "Code Improvements" discusses a mishmash of techniques for improving code. It discusses software quality, collaboration, developer testing, debugging, refactoring, and code tuning. One key point of this section is that the goals of a certain construction project should be clear. Some goals are bound to go against each other, and if developers do not know which are most important, they will do a bad job of trying to optimize all of them at once. The most obvious example of this tendency is that aggressive optimization may make code less readable and prevent beneficial refactorings. This section also points out that code reviews, testing, debugging, refactoring, and code tuning all have the potential to improve code quality, but it is when they are used thoughtfully in unison that their potential is maximized.

Section six, "System Considerations" discusses some higher level issues in constructing a system. As project size increases, project quality and development speed tend to go down in a faster than linear manner. This is because as the project increases, more and more overhead gets taken up by managing communication and more details tend to get lost in the cracks. It is for this reason that having a process and conventions becomes more important on large projects; the more that is automatic, the less that quality and and development time will suffer. This section also discusses how to manage programmers and essential tools that every developer should know about and use. This section also discusses several integration processes and emphasizes that which process is right depends on the project being developed.

The final section of Code Complete is "Software Craftsmanship". This section talks about good practices in actually structuring code and how to write good, effective comments and code that documents itself as much as possible. This section also describes the importance of personal character in becoming an excellent developer. McConnell posits that intelligence is less important than other personal characteristics such as humility, curiosity, intellectual honesty, communication and cooperation, creativity and discipline, effective laziness, and good habits. The point emphasized throughout the discussion on personal character is that a good developer needs to be happy and willing to learn from other developers and be willing to admit when their are right and wrong if they want to earn the trust and respect of others.

A useful part of the final section was McConnell's summary of where to find more information. In particular, he presents "A Software Developer's Reading Plan" reproduced below for my future reference. Note that the plan should be supplemented to the needs and interests of particular developers.

Introductory level:

Adams, James L. Conceptual Blockbusting: A Guide to Better Ideas, 4th ed. Cambridge, MA: Perseus Publishing, 2001.

Bentley, Jon. Programming Pearls, 2d ed. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 2000.

Glass, Robert L. Facts and Fallacies of Software Engineering. Boston, MA: Addison-Wesley, 2003.

McConnell, Steve. Software Project Survival Guide. Redmond, WA: Microsoft Press, 1998.

McConnell, Steve. Code Complete, 2d ed. Redmond, WA: Microsoft Press, 2004.

Practitioner level:

Berczuk, Stephen P. and Brad Appleton. Software Configuration Management Patterns: Effective Teamwork, Practical Integration. Boston, MA: Addison-Wesley, 2003.

Fowler, Martin. UML Distilled: A Brief Guide to the Standard Object Modeling Language, 3d ed. Boston, MA: Addison-Wesley, 2003.

Glass, Robert L. Software Creativity. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1995.

Kaner, Cem, Jack Falk, Hung Q. Nguyen. Testing Computer Software, 2ed. New Yor, NY: John Wiley & Sons, 1999.

Larman, Craig. Applying UML and Patterns: An Introduction to Object-Oriented Analysis and Design and the Unified Process, 2d ed. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2001.

McConnell, Steve. Rapid Development. Redmond, WA: Microsoft Press, 1996.

Wiegers, Karl. Software Requirements, 2d ed. Redmond, WA: Microsoft Press, 2003.

"Manager's Handbook for Software Development," NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

Professional level:

Bass, Len, Paul Clements, and Rick Kazman. Software Architecture in Practice, 2d ed. Boston, MA: Addison-Wesley, 2003.

Fowler, Martin. Refactoring: Improving the Design of Existing Code. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1999.

Gamma, Erich, et al. Design Patterns. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1995.

Gilb, Tom. Principles of Software Engineering Management. Workingham, England: Addison-Wesley, 1988.

Maguire, Steve. Writing Solid Code. Redmond, WA: Microsoft Press, 1993.

Meyer, Bertrand. Object-Oriented Software Construction, 2d ed. New York, NY: Prentice Hall PTR, 1997.

"Software Measurement Guidebook," NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

For more details and up to date reading lists see www.construx.com/professionaldev (requires an account, free with purchase of code complete).

Other interesting things from a quick skim of the bibliography:

Baecker, Ronald M., and Aaron Marcus. 1990. Human Factors and Typography for More Readable Programs. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.

Various works by Kent Beck

Various works by Barry Boehm

Dijkstra, Edsger. 1965. "Programming Considered as a Human Activity." Proceedings of the 1965 IFIP Congress. Amsterdam: North-Holland, 213-17. Reprinted in Yourdon 1982 (Writings of the Revolution).

Disjkstra, Edsger. 1972. "The Humble Programmer." Communications of the ACM 15, no. 10 (October): 859-66.

Knuth's Literate Programming.

Paul Oman and Curtis Cook. "The Book Paradigm for Improved Maintenance" and "Typographic Style is More than Cosmetic".

Schneiderman, Ben. 1980. Software Psychology: Human Factors in Computer and Information Systems. Cambridge, MA: Winthrop.

Spinellis, Diomidis. Code Reading: An Open Source Perspective.

Various by Gerald Weinberg.
Profile Image for Jon Fuller.
1 review8 followers
October 4, 2009
Code Complete 2... A Review

One-liner: Read it. 3.5 stars

I came into this with super high expectations. Things I'd heard people say: "I make everyone on my team read this." or "Every developer should start with this book". So, I thought, "sweet, a great 'back to basics' book... I can't wait!". I read through this book with a host of colleagues all with quite different experience levels and in different areas of expertise.

It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.

Well... maybe not the worst, but not my favorite ;)

Needless to say the book didn't live up to my expectations... however, the book is still a gem. I think the book is best approached (especially for more experienced devs) with a 'back to basics' mindset or an 'I'm starting fresh here... forgetting everything I know' type of attitude. It can be incredibly easy to completely discount large portions of this book without that type of attitude.

The Best

The absolute best part of the experience was having a group of peers to bounce ideas off of. Many pieces of information in the book invoked questions in my head that needed some consideration. Having a discussion forum like a book club was an excellent way to solidify my understanding of things I thought I already knew, and to break down some misunderstandings with opinions and feedback from the group.

Some specifics...

Simplicity is a common theme throughout the entire book... and I think rightly so. Software has such a knack at becoming complex, and without always striving for simplicity, the complexity will overwhelm anyone.

In particular, I appreciated the performance chapters where he talks about how to improve performance (loaded term...) in your system. The gist of the story is that you have to measure. If you don't measure how do you know you got better? Developers almost always assume the bottleneck is in the wrong place (odd isn't it?). And this gem of a quote "if it isn't worth profiling [/measuring:] it isn't worth improving". PLEASE keep that in mind the next time you're performance hacking! Oh yeah... just in case that bit didn't do it for you... MEASURE BEFORE AND AFTER you enhance performance! It's so simple, really.

He talks about standardizing in many areas of the book. Standardizing on naming, style, layout, design concepts, standards themselves, etc., etc. Standardizing is great, and keeps things simple... until someone puts out an eye. It's easy after reading this thing to want to go CRAZY on standards. "Spaces here, not there; Braces here, not there; Capital letter here, and there, and there, but not over there!". "A good style applies to most cases" (emphasis mine). I think this holds true for most standards. When a standard is defined in absolutes, I think, it becomes less about simplicity and more about rigidity (BTW, simplicity != rigidity).

Steve gives some amazing stats that are often quite surprising and inspiring, and are usually well backed (although, I'm guessing he could've found stats to back any statement he wanted to make). The wealth of information and completeness of the book in the areas that it touches are impeccable and spot on.

The Worst

I don't want to hate on the book too much (or at all really), but I do have some nits to pick.

This thing is freakin' huge! I had to use a hand-truck to haul this thing around! I needed a social contract to get myself through this book. I had been trying to read it for years. A group of us set out to read this together, meeting once a week as a book club, so that gave me the social commitment I needed to get through this monster.

I felt a general 'anti-Agile' undertone, though he never really stated it explicitly. I'm no Agile Zealot, but I do like to be lean and nimble.

Many of the things I felt like I already knew, or already had opinions on. Some of his suggestions (PPP in particular) just seemed weird, and not generally (or even specifically) applicable to how I work. Maybe I was just looking to be shocked and awed by the experience and wasn't. I think had I approached some of the book with a more open mindset I might've been able to glean more out of those 'basics'.
Profile Image for Mark Seemann.
Author 6 books420 followers
June 21, 2015
All the while reading this book, I struggled with how to rate it here. In many ways, this is an extraordinary piece of work; it's extremely comprehensive, and reveals a remarkable level of insight.

This second edition is from 2004, and although obviously some of its content may seem a little dated, most of it still holds up well in 2015. Given that context, I find it difficult to find fault with most of the book. Much of the advice given is good advice, and as a programmer, you should adopt and internalise most of it.

On these grounds, the book deserves 4 or 5 stars, so why do I rate it as I do?

There are two reasons for this.

The first is that, having programmed for some 15-20 years already, I learned little. Although I think this tome could be indispensable for a so-called junior programmer, I only gained little from it.

The second reason is probably an effect of the first, but I was bored to tears most of the way through. Still, I kept reading, a chapter per month or so, since there was an occasional gem here and there.

The rating I've given therefore reflects my experience reading the book, more than the quality of it, which is indisputable.

If you're a seasoned programmer, you may consider skipping it. If you have only a few years of professional experience, you should consider reading it.
Profile Image for Yevgeniy Brikman.
Author 3 books602 followers
August 12, 2016
A must-read for any programmer. Although I don't agree with everything in the book and a few parts feel out of date, it provides an excellent framework for how to think about programming and software engineering. It can help programmers of all experience levels to focus on the right things: that code is harder to read than to write, that managing complexity is the main goal of programming, and so on.

The book is filled with nuggets of wisdom. Some of my favorite quotes, some from McConnell, some from other writers that he includes in the book:

Managing complexity is the most important technical topic in software development. In my view, it's so important that Software's Primary Technical Imperative has to be managing complexity.

A "wicked" problem is one that can be clearly defined only by solving it.

It's OK to figure out murder mysteries, but you shouldn't need to figure out code. You should be able to read it.

Eighty percent of the errors are found in 20 percent of a project's classes or routines.

Don't document bad code - rewrite it.

Jackson's Rules of Optimization: Rule 1. Don't do it. Rule 2 (for experts only). Don't do it yet - that is, not until you have a perfectly clear and unoptimized solution.

No programmer has ever been able to predict or analyze where performance bottlenecks are without data. No matter where you think it's going, you will be surprised to discover that it is going somewhere else.

The Fundamental Theorem of Formatting says that good visual layout shows the logical structure of a program. Making the code look pretty is worth something, but it's worth less than showing the code's structure.

Build one to throw away; you will, anyhow.

One downside to the book is that it seems to largely focus on OO languages (C++, Java) and even older imperative ones (C, Ada, etc). There is virtually no consideration given to functional programming. This is a shame, as immutable variables, pure functions, and lack of side effects inherently solve or mitigate MANY of the code complexity and readability problems he discusses in the book. I chuckled at a line in the book where he says "Recursion isn't useful often...", which is true in the languages he used, which don't support tail call optimization.

The book also pre-dates the open source explosion, github, cheap/free access to amazing tools and cloud services, and the growth of continuous integration/deployment. These have had some pretty profound impact on software development that are not taken into account in the book.
Profile Image for Tim Tulsky.
12 reviews6 followers
September 21, 2019
This is one the best books for programmers and I think every programmer should read it. The only problem this book has is some parts of it is written specifically for senior developers and architects; so, you may want to skip them, if you're not a SENIOR developer yet, like myself.
Profile Image for Stijn.
70 reviews
May 16, 2014
Terribly bloated. Long-winded and trivial. I do not get the high score for this book; in a related area, but much more crisp is Programming Pearls (it even engages your brain, imagine that).
2 reviews
May 28, 2011

После повторного прочтения данной книги окончательно убеждаюсь в том, что данная книга должны быть прочитана, как минимум раз, каждым развивающимся разработчиком, менеджером связанным с разработкой, и тем, кто так или иначе связан с областью разработки.

Мое мнение может быть предвзятым, так как на момент написания - это единственная книга по разработке, которую я прочитал, но могу сказать, что автору удалось пр��лить свет на разработку как таковую, и мне, как начинающему разработчику она очень помогла, не смотря на то, что некоторые главы пока просто не понятны. Также, хотелось бы отметить, что в книге есть главы, которые традиционно являются поводом для многих "религиозных" войн, но автору удалось преподнести предмет спора, в нейтральной манере, благодаря чему, например, выработать хороший стиль кодирования и форматирования, после прочтения книги, не такая уж и большая проблема.

В заключении хочу сказать, что эту книгу я буду стараться перечиывать как можно чаще, по мере получения опыта, так как с каждым чтением, эффект после прочтения все больше и больше.

Profile Image for Joe.
3 reviews
November 13, 2009
Steve McConnell's Code Complete is absolutely essential to every software developer. The lessons contained in Code Complete are based on solid, time-tested principles. The time spent reading Code Complete is time spent bettering your career as a developer.
Profile Image for Evgeny Ogurtsov.
1 review2 followers
October 27, 2018
Эта книга должна быть одной из первых у тех кто начинает программировать. Она сразу правильно формирует отношение к разработке и указывает как надо делать и как не стоит.
Я бы выделил эту книгу в TOP10 книг которые стоит прочитать чтобы вырасти до Lead Developer.
Profile Image for Vladimir.
49 reviews18 followers
March 29, 2011
So it’s a #1 must read programming book according to this poll on StackOverflow. That raises quite some expectations, and if you ask me, the book doesn’t really meet them.

I mean, it doesn’t even feel like a proper programming book - it’s written in some “Easy way to quit smoking for dummies” style. Every idea is explained verbosely, then illustrated with some numeric stats, then with a 3D chart, then with some real-life anecdote, then with a reference to a 1973 paper, and finally reiterated in a checklist in the end of the chapter.

But still, this book makes a lot of good points, it’s easy to read, there’s not much prerequisites (“If you’re rusty on polynomials, they’re the the things that look like Ax² + Bx + C”) – maybe it makes sense to read it in high school.
Profile Image for Sudheesh.
30 reviews1 follower
December 20, 2020
This is one of those books that every programmer must read.

If there's one problem with this book, it's that it is too long, at 900+ pages. But, I wouldn't hold that against it. This book has tons of good information. I should have read this years ago. A lot of what I learnt over the years could have been done so earlier. Also, there were a few points that I didn't completely agree with, but I guess that's ok. Like it is said here, creating software is a craft.

The top 3 biggest takeaways from this book are
* Design is a heuristic process
* Software's primary technical imperative is managing complexity
* Code for humans first, and computers second
November 29, 2011
This book was a pretty good read. Most of what is discussed is extremely valuable information. Although with only 5 years of experience I felt like many of the points that Steve brought up were fairly obvious once you've been working as a Software Developer. If you are new to programming, want to move to a more professional level of programming or just plain have plenty of time on your hands this is a great book. However, if you already have a fair amount of experience developing software professionally, I would suggest you look elsewhere for good reading.
Profile Image for Inna Baikova.
11 reviews3 followers
January 6, 2018
Книга полезна разработчикам, которые хотят научиться писать качественный код. Но сама по себе в печатном издании книга очень объемна и поэтому ее не удобно читать или брать с собой, язык в ней академический, много сносок, поэтому под нее так легко уснуть. Похоже на чтение большого советского словаря) Между этой книгой и "Чистым кодом" дядюшки Боба, советую выбрать вторую.
Profile Image for Fernando Fernandes.
98 reviews5 followers
September 25, 2014
The format and verbosity of this book really hurts. I'm glad that there are technical books like O'Reilly's Head First series out there. Or the Pragmatic Bookshelf. I must say tho, there are a lot of good points in Code Complete. But the way they are presented... Makes it difficult to enjoy.
Profile Image for Jennifer.
25 reviews1 follower
September 28, 2009
Steve McConnell's Code Complete 2 is a classic piece of literature in Software Development. I joined a book club for reading this book, and the discussions along the way were some of the most valuable I've had. It was very rewarding to me to see many of the pieces of advice given reaffirming my own coding practices and the way things are done here at SEP, but I certainly took some new information away. One of the main lessons taught throughout the book is that code should be easy to understand. Levels of abstraction, clear class and variable names, information hiding, coding standards - they all leave one less detail you have to juggle in your mind when trying to understand the code you're reading. If you write code that is as close to possible to self-documenting, you'll make your life and everyone else's life that much easier. Mostly this book was just the tip of the iceburg, a good overview of several key topics in the industry. It was very well-researched and cited, though quite a bit of the research was as old or older than I am! There was a recommended reading list at the end of the book which seems very valuable, and I intend to go through it. This book left me with a feeling of 'just getting started' and seems like it would be a good thing for new-hires to read.
Profile Image for Russell.
115 reviews11 followers
January 12, 2008
Purchased this book as a textbook for a Software Engineering class at school. The teacher said he enjoyed it quite a bit and that we weren't going to reference it as much as he'd like (considering the other texts for the class). His comment piqued my interest. Upon finishing the first reading assignment I continued along to the next chapter. Like it so much I began the next and then halted, remembering the other reading I first needed to complete.

So, I finished the other book (Mythical Man Month) and took Code Complete with me on trip. I was enthralled with the style of writing and ideas presented as much as Mythical Man Month. In fact, on the way home from the trip I read almost 400 pages. McConnell really has a knack for presenting his material in a thought provoking and entertaining manner. I kept underlining and scribbling notes. I fully intend re-reading every 18 months or so to check up on myself and evaluate the suggested best-practices.
25 reviews
December 18, 2018
For me, the main message of this book is: "Bugs in software are introduced because of code complexity."

This idea and many other things were an eyeopener to me. For example, I was not able to explain why I don't feel good about "hacky code" in feature implementation or why sometimes I read code and struggle to understand what is going on. Now I see that both of those things add a lot of complexity.

I think every developer with 3-5 years of experience should read this book. Sure it can be dated at some places and not always applicable to small companies development capabilities but it definitely conveys ideas that all developers should understand and embrace.
Profile Image for David.
863 reviews45 followers
December 18, 2010
It's a great book for fresher developers, as it contains a lot of practices and hard facts to back them up. I''m already aware of quite of bit that the book advocates so I wouldn't get as much out of it as a new developer. But having said that, I did get to learn bits and pieces here and there of stuff I hadn't thought about, so it's good. I guess the downside about this book is that it can be pretty long-winded in trying to explain why a certain practice is a good practice.
Profile Image for Jahongir Rahmonov.
49 reviews14 followers
September 25, 2017
I feel like I should have read it earlier in my carrier. It is a good book. But it felt boring to me because I already knew most of the stuff. Did not live up to my expectations because people say it is the Bible of programming. However, I would say that Clean Code by Uncle Bob is more interesting and more useful for me at this point.
Profile Image for Danien.
44 reviews
March 11, 2010
Lots of checklists that theoretically sound good for large teams and projects but the overhead may be too high for smaller projects.
Profile Image for Ivan.
221 reviews9 followers
May 31, 2015
На удивление простая в понимании (несмотря на объём) книга. Развернуто и по делу. Хвалить можно долго, и разумеется заслуженно. Не зря ее включают во все списки книг для разработчиков ПО.
Profile Image for Ferhat Elmas.
634 reviews6 followers
July 24, 2016
Detailed explanation with good examples, thoughtful quotes just in-place, pointers to relevant literature, actionable check-lists and key points. It's one of the must-reads.
Profile Image for Sophie.
214 reviews
June 11, 2021
This is a clear reference for programming. As a beginner, I found chapter 33 is especially inspiring.
In this chapter, the author brought up 5 characteristics that matter the most:
1. Humility: People who are best at programming are those who realize how small their brains are. For compensating, good programmers reduce the load on their brains by keeping routines short.
2. Curiosity: Always spare a few minutes to be curious about how to do jobs better.
1) Build awareness of the development process: Learn from the job or turning into a dinosaur.
2) Experiment: Write a short program to exercise the feature you're not familiar with and see how it works.
3) Read about problem solving
4) Analyze and plan before you act
5) Learn about successful projects
6) Read documentation: skim the documentation every couple of months
7) Read other books and periodicals
8) Affiliate with other professionals
9) Make a commitment to professional development
3. Intellectual Honesty: Refusing to pretend you're an expert when you're not. And if you make a mistake, admit it quickly and emphatically.
4. Creativity and Discipline: Analyze requirements and design before you begin coding.
5. Enlightened laziness: Deferring an unpleasant task -> Writing a tool to do the unpleasant task
Aside from the characteristics mentioned above, having good habits before you cultivate bad ones without consciously thinking about it. What are good habits? Here are 2 examples:
1. Writing a class in pseudocode before coding it.
2. Carefully reading the code before compiling it.
Profile Image for Sumant.
240 reviews8 followers
April 6, 2019
Just finished this huge tome of a book, I think it almost took me about 3 months to finish this book, my overall perspective regarding this book is that it provides some refresher on most practices of software engineering.

I have about 9 years experience working in the software field, and some of the examples in this book are clearly outdated as regards to the software landscape of 2019, we have some very good methodologies and technologies available to us.

I am mostly an MS developer, and Visual Studio has gone from strengths to strength as regards to what an IDE can do, with MS focusing on open source, there are very few things which visual Studio does not support, the book clearly lacks this focus, and has become outdated in terms of when it emphasizes on version control systems and debugging.

For me the first 40% of book was really a crawl because all the basics of software construction are explained here, and for that we have quite good books and resources available with us that how code is to be written by applying principles of SOILD or DRY or how should we code to patterns.

After 40% of the book is over, it actually became interesting to me, because then it focuses on software craftsmanship, how a software can be developed, why unit tests are necessary, and why having unit testing does not mean you don't need testers in your projects, and so on and so forth.

I give this book 3/5 stars.
Profile Image for Lowell Paige Bander.
82 reviews6 followers
September 12, 2017
I'd give a 1-star review to a book that was wrong, or that purported to be scientific and yet was absent of references. This book gets 2-stars because although there were a tiny handful of useful tips, the vast majority of the text was a stream of minutiae, such as an entire chapter on variable naming (Should you capitalize the first letter of method names? What about prefixing constants with "c_" vs making the whole name upper case?).

I've been reading a few articles lately about "tricks" for reading more, and one recurring theme that stuck out to me was the recommendation to put a book down that "isn't really doing it for you" because it's stopping you from reading the books you may enjoy more. I think this book meets that criterion.
Profile Image for Tadas Talaikis.
Author 7 books66 followers
June 27, 2017
All concept can be just added into few sentences, like, before you start programming, think (and predict) very well what functions you'll need, as not Mather how well you though, damn thing anyway will grow into something too complex. It is tempting to add features, but that's a suicide if those not thought off before the project. Complexities have tendency to fail.
Profile Image for Aleksandr Beljakov.
13 reviews1 follower
August 28, 2018
That book was for me high expectation.
But in real case, for 10 years of professional development and self improvement, that book is just repeating of basic paradigms. But still I found something new. May be not new, but obvious, what most of senior developers ignores by "authority" of experience.

I recommend that book for Mid-Senior developers. It collects a ton of best practices and advices.
For junior devs it will be hard to handle at once. Needs to return back more that once.
At least, once you must read. Later you could return to it, to refresh knowledge about that obvious stuff, what we start to ignore with time.

For me is main idea of that book.
1. Struggle with code complexity
2. Be curious
3. Programming is intellectual work - you must remember it. Work with you head!

May 20, 2019
Despite it is old it is still applicable, excellent book that gives you recommendations what to do in given situations and become one of the best programmers.
Profile Image for Vasya Rudas.
11 reviews
October 20, 2022
Can be useful for Junior developers in some chapters, but book requires a newer edition to represent actual state of development especially for Java related snippets. More experienced developers can deep dive more in software development processes on a high level. Book also contains many good references for future readings in a software engineer career growth.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 434 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.