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What's the Deal with Code Complete?

Who the heck wants or needs to read a 900 page book about how you should indent your code?

This book could and should be condensed into a 50 page handbook.

I'm willing to bet that for every 100 people that claim they've read Code Complete, only 1 has gone further than skimming.

what's Up?
Friday, April 30, 2004

Obviously you're in your majority that's only skimmed the book if you only think it's about indenting...

You need to use more Salad Cream when you have lunch with Hitler...


Friday, April 30, 2004

I'm about a third of the way through the beta version. Doubt if it would go down to fifty pages.

Perhaps you should at least glance at the table of contents before you start making your opinions public.

Stephen Jones
Friday, April 30, 2004

"Can't we all just get along?"

Rodney K.
Friday, April 30, 2004

With Posts like this, we can't.

RP
Friday, April 30, 2004

What's the Deal with Indentation Handbook?

Who the heck wants or needs to read a 50 page book about how you should indent your code?

This book could and should be condensed into a 2.73 page handbook.

I'm willing to bet that for every 100 people that claim they've read Indentation Handbook, only 1 has actually bought an albatross.



Yep, it's Friday, and I'm goofing off just before leaving ;)

Paulo Caetano
Friday, April 30, 2004

Get back to work, Paulo!

Paulo's Boss
Friday, April 30, 2004


I'm working under the optimistic assumption that the OP was not trolling.

I read the first edition of Code Complete 10 years ago when I was still pretty junior.  (Yes, I read it completely and in detail - and have referred back to it several times over the years)

I found that it represented a distillation of several practices that, taken together, enabled me easily develop clean, tight, consistent code *every time*. 

There isn't much in there that a good, experienced programmer couldn't think of for himself.  The value of the book is in absorbing those practices without having to learn them over several years of mostly bad experiences.

On a related topic, clear and consistent conventions for indentation and naming make it possible to move to a level where you don't even think about those things anymore.  This frees up your limited brain power to focus on the more subtle aspects of design, and allows you to feel comfortable that you can pick up code you wrote years ago and easily grasp its structure and intent, because of its consistency of style.

If you understand those concepts without reading Code Complete, then that's great.  I personally recommend it to any junior programmer I inherit on my teams.  In most cases, it accelerates their development into competent, professional programmers.

Craig
Friday, April 30, 2004

Even though it's quite long, it reads quickly. I've read it (the first version) more than once.

njkayaker
Friday, April 30, 2004

"Get back to work, Paulo!"

Hum...

Must be some kind of hidden camera around here, because my boss has already left...

;)

Paulo Caetano
Friday, April 30, 2004

We monitor your computer.


Friday, April 30, 2004

Okay, so maybe in retrospect a better book is just waiting to be written that will be a Strunk and White to the Code Complete... anyway, it was a fun read back then (okay let me qualify fun, I don't read a lot of real books)

Li-fan Chen
Friday, April 30, 2004

I didn't get the big deal about the book too.  I heard high praise all over about this book, and I bought it for full price on Amazon.

Then I read most of it and I barely felt like I learned anything.  Maybe because I am very anal about code to begin with.

It did have some interesting but relatively shallow discussion of temporal dependencies, but I have already known that intuitively.  I try never to construct an API where things need to be called in a specified order.  I factor my code religiously.

But I agree that if all programmers followed those practices, the world would be a better place.  Unfortunately, their productivity would also probably be cut in half.  You get the sense that these people haven't shipped a product in decades.

Roose
Saturday, May 01, 2004

I found CC unimpressive as well. Not downright wrong, he just didn't tell me anything I didn't already know.  Might be quite useful if you pick it up early in your career, though.

Chris Nahr
Saturday, May 01, 2004

The problem is that the book is well over due for a complete rewrite. It was interesting to read 5 years ago and you might still be violating some of the worst habits it pointed out, but since everyone reads it it's been a while since I have seen people unknowingly break some of these rules.

Li-fan Chen
Saturday, May 01, 2004

Li-fan,

Now I am completely surprised by that.  If most of the code you see follows all or even half of the rules of Code Complete, then you are a very lucky man.

Most code I see is an utter mess... most programmers have not read Code Complete.  But even if they did, and tried to follow all of its advice, some of it is so utterly impractical and anal retentive that they would probably stop trying after a short while.

Roose
Sunday, May 02, 2004

The galleys for the second edition was up on the net this January. I downloaded it and printed it out.

I would think we can expect the printed version within a month or so.

Stephen Jones
Sunday, May 02, 2004

what's up,

<quote>
Who the heck wants or needs to read a 900 page book about how you should indent your code?
</quote>

I have read the original edition and most of the second edition. And I am thoroughly stumped how you could come up with the above statement.

Maybe you can tell us:

a) Whether you read the whole book?
b) What other books you read recently (and how they compare to Steve McConnell)?
c) Your qualifications (and how long you have been working for)?

Seeya

Anon
Sunday, May 02, 2004

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