You are previewing Code Complete, Second Edition.

Code Complete, Second Edition

Cover of Code Complete, Second Edition by Steve McConnell Published by Microsoft Press
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Key Design Concepts

Good design depends on understanding a handful of key concepts. This section discusses the role of complexity, desirable characteristics of designs, and levels of design.

Software's Primary Technical Imperative: Managing Complexity

To understand the importance of managing complexity, it's useful to refer to Fred Brooks's landmark paper, "No Silver Bullets: Essence and Accidents of Software Engineering" (1987).


For discussion of the way complexity affects programming issues other than design, see Conquer Complexity.

Accidental and Essential Difficulties

Brooks argues that software development is made difficult because of two different classes of problems—the essential and the accidental. In referring to these two terms, ...

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