I had heard rave reviews of Code Complete for years. Supposedly, it’s required reading for every Microsoft employee. Programmers I respect glowed about it. Rumors abounded about its ability to cure warts… OK, maybe the rumors didn’t quite say that, but they were pretty close.

Perhaps I’m a bit of a skeptic (which is funny, considering that I’m a Christian as well - but even in church, where things must be taken on faith, I do view everything in a highly skeptical light unless it is grounded on the Bible). “Surely,” I thought, “no programming book is that good!”

I now stand corrected. I have nearly completed my first reading of this book (and I really took my time with this one). It is, without doubt, the best programming book I have ever read.

It reads as the collective wisdom of many independent programmers brought together from years of experience, which is the only true teacher in our profession. The book does an excellent job of identifying common pitfalls in a language-agnostic fashion.

There are only a handful of problems with it; the most major of these is that it could use some updating. For example, the C# language sidesteps entire sections of problems due to its design. There are also a couple of very minor points where I disagree with the author, and one tiny omission (I hope to blog more about these in detail later).

I say again: this is the best book on programming I have ever read. I fully intend to read it continuously (starting again each time I finish). It should be read by anyone entering the field as well as anyone working in the field.

The name is Code Complete, and it is a “must-read.” No programmer’s bookshelf is complete without a copy.