Code Complete

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This article is about the software development book. For the software release life cycle stage "code complete", see Software release life cycle.
Code Complete
Cover image of first edition
First edition cover
Author Steve McConnell
Country United States
Language English
Subject Computer programming
  • 1993 (1st ed.)
  • 2004 (2nd ed.)
Pages 914 (2nd ed.)
ISBN ISBN 978-1-55615-484-3
LC Class QA75.5-76.95

Code Complete is a software development book, written by Steve McConnell and published in 1993 by Microsoft Press, urging developers to get past code and fix programming and the big design up front waterfall model. It is also a compendium of software construction techniques, from naming variables to deciding when to write a subroutine.

McConnell defines the main activities in construction as:

Although he does not dismiss the value of other aspects of software development such as requirements and documentation, McConnell emphasizes the construction of software because:

  • Construction is a large part of software development.
  • Construction is the central activity in software development.
  • With a focus on construction, the individual programmer's productivity can improve enormously.
  • The source code defines the operation of the software; if code and documentation disagree, the documentation is wrong.
  • Construction is the only activity that's guaranteed to be done.


Code Complete has received outstanding reviews, being widely regarded as one of the leading must-reads for software developers.[citation needed] It won a Jolt Award in 1993.[1]



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