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You are not the first person I have heard speak praises of this book. I think I will have to see if my local bookstore has a copy. Is the book more breadth or depth?

It is both more in depth and covers more breadth than virtually any other book you're likely to pick up. Trying to decide which one it does better is pointless.

Code Complete tries to cover about all "software construction" activities. You might think of this as, "Everything generically involved in coding." It manages to both cover a broad range of topics, yet handles each with detail and specificity. Part of the reason why he is able to do this is the style. He doesn't spend a lot of time arguing - he takes a topic, effectively summarizes what is known, often summarizes some key research (he likes providing key numbers), notes a key point or two, gives an example and then moves on to something else. He also typically leaves you with a list of a half-dozen research papers supporting whatever he claimed.

The result is both detailed and compact. Which allows him to cover a lot of ground in 862 pages. (Followed by an 18 page bibliography of supporting books, articles, studies, etc.)

Yet even so he can't cover everything. Which is why he focusses on topics that are generic and cross language. A decade from now, the current copy of Code Complete will still apply even if you're writing in a language that hasn't even been thought of yet. And will still be being cited as a classic. There aren't many programming books that you can say that about.

In reply to Re^3: Software design -- The confussion of buzzwords by tilly
in thread Software design -- The confussion of buzzwords by zzspectrez

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