When programmers work in a team, a lot of time is spent in not writing the codes but reading them. And therefore writing clean coding is not “good to have” but becomes imperative.
Revelation right? A little bummer for coding enthusiasts perhaps but that’s the workplace reality. Let’s share the ratio of reading to writing, which is 10:1 and make it even more glaringly clear.
“A bad penny always turns up” and that saying applies to coding perfectly. Clarity and honesty ensures both short and long term programming goals are met in the most efficient manner.
So what happens when the codes are not clean?
According to Robert C Martin, the author of Clean Code: A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship, when codes are bad, programmers have to wade through them. A bad code can destroy the products and shut a company down.
But why do bad codes exist?
Developers have to lose a lot of time because of bad codes and yet they keep making bad coding choices to meet deadlines. The irony is that a coding mess slows the programmers down and the only way around it is to write clean codes.
But how to ensure codes are clean and good to commit?
Are there some guidelines to be followed to make everyday developer life a little easier. We are great fans of good books and often recommend them to our readers. Before we proceed into the details of what clean coding entails, we would like to recommend the book “Clean Code” which is an absolute must read for developers to learn software engineering best practices.
The book provides invaluable information regarding aspects like:
- Identify the difference between good and bad code
- Writing good codes and converting bad codes into good codes
- Creating good names, functions, classes and objects
- Formatting codes for maximum readability
- implementing complete error handling without obscuring code logic
- Unit test and practice test-driven development
The tips discussed here have been inspired by the book. Let’s dive into the tips.
Clean Coding Tips to Increase Efficiency as Programmer
- Using Good Names- The names of variable, function or class should:
- Reveal the intention
- Reason for existence
- Role it performs
- How is it used
- Shouldn’t require a comment
Instead of satiating the compilers, if the names are different, they should also distinctly mean different things.
- Be Mindful of Function Side Effects Functions should avoid having any side effects. Function tend to promise to do one thing but also do hidden things as side effects causing unexpected changes to variables, modify the parameters of function or alter the systems global. Function side effects can lead to word temporal couplings and order dependencies.
- Only Necessary Comments – Well, oftentimes comments are there to compensate for bad codes. Some of aspects to consider are:
- Redundant Codes that take a lot of time to read
- Avoid Commented out code
- Unnecessary and Irrelevant Information
The older comments are not maintained and therefore become redundant hence it is advisable that developers inculcate the discipline to maintain the comments in a state of high level of repair, relevance and accuracy. The codes are often reviewed and also moved; however, the pertaining comments maintain their status quo and become like blurbs with no purpose and decreasing accuracy.
The other aspect to consider is writing clean, clear codes so that they do not need comments in the first place.
There are several best practices developed over half a century now and back then the rules were not formulated and hence often broken however today there is a great amount of clarity regarding what works and what not. Write clean codes and increase the efficiency of your team and most importantly reduce the “frustration time” for everyone.
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