I first read Code Complete in 1997, a few years after I started coding professionally. I learned a lot about how to make my code more readable and reliable, and even re-read it a few years later, with the same effect.
Code Complete – A Practical Handbook of Software Constructions, 2nd edition (released in 2004) is even better. The coverage is quite expanded, with small (but useful) forays into gathering requirement, design and architecture, in addition to all the practical coding stuff. It is bound to be useful even to a seasoned professional coder.
While I am well aware of many of the practices, just by reading the book I found I was much less willing to cut corners when programming.
There are a couple of things that I didn't like, though
– Some sections seem to be unnecessary or too verbose (which also explains the 960 pages of the book)
– There are references everywhere to a special site, for updated resources. Every single time I checked, what it had was the exact same resources as the book version.
– In the ePub version, code formatting is sometime painful (hardly the book's fault, but something to be aware of if you get it as an eBook)
– When speaking of tools, there is mostly hand-waiving. There are no specific examples. Of course, the intent is that the book don't quickly get outdated.
Overall, strongly recommended for all coders, starting or old. In the same line, Clean Code has better coverage on how to design and refactor better classes. I do enjoy the fact that Code Complete often mentions actual research stats when recommending practices, however.
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