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am 20. Juli 2000
I've never written a review here before, but I feel I should warn people against this book. I bought it myself, because of the positive reviews here. This book will NOT teach you to write solid code, at least not the way I see it. For one thing, it's dated, the examples are written in C, not C++ or some other object-oriented language. That wouldn't matter if it was good advice as sound design can be language-independent. However, in my opinion, it isn't. To start with naming, he uses Hungarian notation (which is a way of putting the type of the variable in the variable name (which doesn't give much meaning in C++, with user-defined types)), like "pchFrom", which means "pointer to char," which gives cryptic variable names, reminiscent of much C code. If you get past that, he offers among other things, the following suggestions. The first ones are about the compiler. He suggests that the compiler should be able to catch the following "mistake":
while(size-- > 0); // ";" should not be here, in this case.
I don't want an infantilizing compiler telling me I shouldn't have an empty statement following a "while," thank you very much.
Other advice is (with my comments after the quotes):
"Maintain both ship and debug versions of your program." - Don't. Don't duplicate code. He actually means having separate code for both versions. That means having to maintain both, and even if you fixed it in the debug version, it's not in the ship version.
He advocates using comments to explain unclear things. I prefer to have code self-documenting. That way, it's always up to date, too. If the code is unclear, rewrite it.
But the really bad advice, the one that compelled me to write this, is in the last chapter (before the Epilogue), in the section entitled "Are you a code meddeler?", and the advice is "Don't clean up code unless the cleanup is critical to the product's success." My advice is "Don't even think about it." If you don't clean up messy code, you almost guaranteed have a bug waiting to happen there. Nuff said. Not to mention the problem of maintaining such code. His intent is, don't mess with code you don't understand. But again, if it's not understandable, make it understandable.
This _would_ explain some of Microsoft's products.
There are some good advice there, but it's buried in the bad ones, making it dangerous.
I would return this book, if I could.
I have many programming books. If you want to write good code, I rcommend "Extreme Programming Explained" by Beck, "Refactoring" by Fowler, and "Design Patterns" by Gamma et. al. Highly recommended. "Effective C++" and "More Effective C++" are also good.
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am 22. Oktober 1999
I'm posting this mostly to counteract the buffoons who obviously gave this book a poor rating only because it was published by Microsoft Press. That's like criticizing Core Java 2 because you don't like Sun.
MS Press actually has an enviable stable of writers, and publishes many fine books. Ever heard of Steve McConnell? Jeff Prosise? Charles Petzold?
Anyway, this book is a very good source of advice on preventing C bugs on any platform. At one company where I worked, the VP of Engineering used to loan it to many programmers fresh out of college. Like Practice of Programming, it helps you get from what you learn in school to what will help you write production code in the real world.
I don't give it 5 stars because it's just not really a classic. You should give it a read if you program C or C++, though.
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am 27. Juli 1999
This book contains practical advice on how to write bug-free code. It covers a large number of guidelines which are generally applicable to all software development projects.
My only caution is that these techniques, when applied by novice programmers, is no doubt the source of much of Microsoft's code bloat. Also, encouraging the programmer to rely heavily on the source-level debugger can prevent developers from getting a real sense of the program's performance on user-level hardware.
Otherwise, a very good book and very useful advice, much of which I've been applying in my own projects.
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am 23. Juli 2008
That book is brilliant. Read it, keep an open mind to understand the _principles_ behind solid coding which to author tries to communicate, such as: use all toolchain support you can get to make your code bug free; use a debugger to ensure your code is doing what you believe it's doing; stay consistent; write code so you and you co-worker can understand it 3 months from now.

Anyone sincerly enough interested in these issues should be able to look past minor details such as the programming language (C) used to explain them. Please, ignore the initial bad review, read it and improve your code quality *even* in a weak language like C.
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am 16. März 1997
The text starts by asking two questions about bugs found in code:

1) How could I have automatically detected this bug ?

2) How could I have prevented this bug ?

Steve goes on to lay out the process, techniques and guidelines for eliminating bugs. He systematically builds on the ideas and principles from previous chapters. Many of his techniques were new to me but made perfect sense, as if they should be universally embraced without question. He draws on his years of experience at Microsoft, where these techniques are still used today. The guidelines are meant to be integrated into the thought process of the programmer during the design stage. It is here where bugs can be eliminated in the least costly fashion. Many fine examples are provided, including a suite of memory management functions that are ready for deployment. I will definitely be using these principles in my code from now on. A perceptive, deliberate work that will sharpen the programmer's scalpel and pay dividends throughout the development and testing phases.
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am 7. Januar 1999
This book is not a programmer's desk reference. Those looking for a how-to tome should look elsewhere. What this book contains is practical advice and lessons learned about software construction and projects. Maguire is a proponent of the theory that good software doesn't just happen - it is the result of good processes, and in this book he explains how to create these processes in your work environment, whether your job is that of a line programmer, a lead programmer, or a software project manager.
It is essential that the reader be able to take specific lessons in the book - like the Macintosh Excel programming project refereneced by another reviewer - and relate them not literally, but in the context of their own problems and projects. This requires independent thought, and may account for some of the bad reviews. I seriously doubt that anyone who rated this book below three stars read and understood it.
A great book and worth every penny.
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am 10. Oktober 1997
This is an excellent book. If you don't find it good, it means that you have not catch the message that the author is trying to deliver. The message is: "As a professional programmer, you must believe in writing low defects code, and have the attitude to do it." All the examples given in the book are of secondary importance. They are merely included to support the idea and show you how you can achieve it. Don't be blinded by the examples and feel that they are not helpful to your particular domain. As the old saying goes, "It is better to teach a person how to fish then to fish for him/her." It is actually not so difficult to teach a person to fish, but to instill in him/her the faith and attitude to fish is the most difficult thing to do. I'm impressed by this book because it attempts to do so.
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am 14. Mai 1997
Maguire doubtlessly had the best of intentions when he authored this book. However, the book is filled with the Microsoft disease of Hungarian notation, obfuscating what might otherwise be acceptable examples. The book is also flawed by DOS-centricity...not surprising, considering the publisher. Also undermining the value of this work is Maguire's apparent desire to rewrite the Standard C language (see his getchar() wrapper). Get the FAQ-list from comp.lang.c. It's better, it's free and doesn't reek with the stench of Redmond
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am 24. September 1998
If you've just started programming professionally, you must read this book. Chances are you haven't learned to program defensively in any of your classes - this book will tell you how, so that your programs will last, with fewer bugs, less maintenance - solidity. Veteran programmers will probably be pretty familiar with the info this book has to offer though.
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am 2. Mai 2000
As a software developer with 18 years of experience, I didn't expect to get much out of this book at all. Silly me. It changed the way I write code. It's filled with many powerful techniques for writing code that will automatically catch bugs. It's very clearly written, has lots of useful examples, and is easy to follow. Beginners may have trouble, if they're not familiar with the sorts of problems that often show up in large software projects. More experienced developers will find it very useful.
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