Table of Contents


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preventative programming techniques: avoid and correct common mistakes
Preventative Programming Techniques: Avoid and Correct Common Mistakes
by Brian Hawkins  ISBN:1584502576
Charles River Media © 2003 (322 pages)

This guide presents a clear and intelligent approach to detecting, preventing, and correcting the most common mistakes in programming and includes ways to reduce problems and provides methods for correcting those that already exist.

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Table of Contents
Preventative Programming Techniques—Avoid and Correct Common Mistakes
Part I - Major Illnesses
Chapter 1- Premature Optimization
Chapter 2- CAP Epidemic
Chapter 3- NIH Syndrome
Part II - Minor Illnesses
Chapter 4- Complexification
Chapter 5- Over Simplification
Chapter 6- Docuphobia
Chapter 7- i
Chapter 8- Hardcode
Chapter 9- Brittle Bones
Chapter 10- Requirement Deficiency
Chapter 11- Myopia
Chapter 12- Conclusion
Appendix A- Teamwork
Appendix B- References
Appendix C- About the CD-ROM
List of Figures
List of Tables
List of Sidebars
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Back Cover

Preventative Programming Techniques provides programmers with a clear and intelligent approach to detecting, preventing, and correcting the most common mistakes. It includes practical ways to reduce problems that occur every day, and provides methods for correcting problems that already exist. Using a medical metaphor, each of the common problems is presented as an illness. Each illness is then presented in a structured approach that includes a basic description, common symptoms, prevention methods, cures, and related illnesses to look for. The majority of the principles and practices espoused are language independent and focus on instructing programmers how to detect and avoid problems. It also includes guidelines on determining when and how to refactor or rewrite code.

Some of the major and minor illnesses found throughout programming, include premature optimization, CAP (cut and paste) epidemic, NIH (not invented here) syndrome, complexification, oversimplification, docuphobia, and more. If you’re a programmer, you’ve made these mistakes or you’ve had to deal with code that has them in it. To learn how to prevent and fix these problems, check out all of the illnesses—you’re sure to find insightful tips for your own projects. Novice programmers will benefit greatly from reading though each category of illness from start to finish, and experienced programmers will benefit from the insightful tips and anecdotes.


  • Provides insightful guidelines for avoiding common programming mistakes and writing cleaner, and more efficient code
  • Emphasizes early detection and resolution before the cost of problems explode
  • Covers all problems from a non-language specific approach, providing examples in C++ and Java
  • Teaches practical guidelines for detecting what may seem like obvious mistakes that often go undetected until they cause serious problems
  • Includes a variety of tips and anecdotes that benefit all levels of programmers

About the Author

Brian Hawkins began his career doing research at JustSystem Pittsburgh Research Center where he focused on scripted character animation using natural language. He worked at Activion as the game core lead on Star Trek: Armada, and contributed to Civilization: Call to Power and Call to Power 2. He also worked for Seven Studios as lead programmer of Defender and now operates his own consulting company. He holds a BS in mathematics and computer science from Carnegie Mellon University.

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