The Importance, Characteristics and Writing of Clean Code

It’s the code that makes an app. It is the code that breaks an app. Though it is working well, still your mentor or manager picks holes in your code, you should take a note.

You are not the only programmer working on the project.

The code is a lot more than a sequence of instructions given to a machine.

The art of clean code

Your code should be clean and able to communicate with humans as well because other programmers are going to read your code. They are going to work on your code. Even you will not be able to understand and maintain your own code if it is horrible.

Programmers are working under a constant pressure of approaching deadlines. Who has time for writing comments to make the code’s intent clear for other programmers?

Writing readable and clean code is the best alternative to using comments to describe a programming element be it a variable, constant or function.

Someone might have told you that not writing comments is a bad coding practice. However, that’s not true. Just use meaningful names for programming elements you are creating. Just keep your code clean.

For a machine, following dirty piece of code in the table is just a sequence of instructions. However, it is going to be problematic for some other programmer. This piece of code will definitely make your coding skills questionable.

When the code is clean, anyone can understand that this function will return records for a date passed as an argument.

Why Is Writing Clean Code Important?

Time Spent On Reading Code Is More than Time Spent On Writing Code

Well, there is a perception that programmers are always busy in writing code. The reality is different. Programmers spend most of their time on reading code, debugging and figuring out how they can optimize the code to enhance the performance of the app under development. How can they reduce the time complexity of nested loops? A programmer cannot optimize a piece of code without understanding what does it do. That’s why a good programmer never creates a mess while writing code.

It Takes Time to Write Code

Generic functions are created only once and used in numerous projects. Sometimes some minor modifications are made before reusing an existing piece of code. It does save time, efforts and money. However, when you are developing a custom web, mobile or desktop app, the copy and paste practice of coding can introduce risks if modifications are not made correctly. Whether you are reusing code or writing fresh code, it feeds on your time. So, make it clean. The horrible code will not only increase the cost and time but also maximize the risk of errors, bugs and failures.

Writing More Code Increases Complexity and Cost

Developing complex apps with unique features and functionalities demand more coding efforts. Size and complexities multiply the expenses you have to incur. Writing clean code eliminates guesswork and misunderstandings which makes it easier for other programmers to maintain, reuse and modify the existing code. This will help in keeping complexities and cost in check.

Clean Code Is Convenient To Debug and Test

Write clean code not only for other developers but for debuggers and testers as well. Those who will examine the application under development for errors, defects and bugs should be able to study the implementation code of functionalities.

Consider this:

Suppose there are two functions one of which fetches records of employees from the database and other downloads records in PDF format.

When the user clicks ‘Download PDF Report’ button, the app is throwing some error or exception.

Dirty Code:

The debugger or tester looks into the code to find out what’s wrong. Both functions are accepting some integer type values. The debugger or tester doesn’t know anything about this value. Is it employee number, employee id, salary or department id?

Clean Code:

The clean code is readable. It is clear that both functions are accepting employee number.

So, the clean code actually helps debuggers and testers in identifying and reporting bugs or any other issue.

Characteristics of Clean Code

The characteristics of clean code are:

• It is readable.

• It is reusable (but not always).

• It is focused.

• It is testable.

• It contains no duplications.

• It minimizes classes, functions and other entities.

How to Write Clean Code

Writing Clean Is Simple.

Use Meaningful Names

Just as we have used in our examples.

• fetchEmployeeRecords

• downloadPDFReport

• getRecordsByDate

• empNum

Follow Coding Conventions

Private and protected variables names start with an underscore (_).

int _engineNum;

Constants are always in upper case.

string BRAKE_TYPE=”Disc”;

Comments

Writing comments means you have done something wrong. You failed to write code that communicates. However, comments are necessary sometimes. Header comment block consists of:

@category

@package

@author

@version etc.

Legal comments such as copyright and license statements are necessary

At Finepoint Design, we create all of our websites with clean code thats easy for anyone to understand, no matter who is working on it. Clean code is an art form that can be appreciated by programmers and developers alike.

Photo by Émile Perron on Unsplash