Every programmer wants to write good code. But the idea of what is ‘good’ code has been evolving over the years. It could include testability, maintainability, and many other factors, which can make it hard to get a consensus. However, no matter which programming language is used, best practices can guide programmers into writing code that will stand the test of time.
Write less code
The golden rule is to write just the code that you need. Do not be tempted to write code that may be used for future use cases because the scenario later will always be slightly different, and you will have to rewrite the code all over again.
Keep it simple
Remember that your code is not your own. What this means is that it will be seen by other developers. Therefore, it is better to avoid complicated logic for simple tasks as it may not make sense to others working on the same project. Write code that is easily readable. Further, commenting on your code makes it easier for other developers to understand the logic and algorithm behind it. It is important to comment on what or how you are doing the code, instead of merely repeating what the reader can already see in the code.
Avoid clever code
Always try to ensure that your code is readable by all. There is the temptation to write more ‘efficient’ or ‘clever’ code that could save you some time and a couple of lines, but this may be difficult for the team to understand at a later stage. This could lead to a big rewrite of the code all over again in the future which you want to avoid.
Remember to write documentation in code
This is a detail that is often forgotten but it is one that can make the most difference in the future. Reliable documentation is necessary as it helps with sharing information with other developers. But often, programmers find that they have little time to step back and do the required documentation, as their deadlines are very tight with code reviews, automation tests, and unit tests all thrown in. But it is always good to take a few minutes to document the code as it helps in the overall development and maintenance of the software. This will ensure that any time in the future, when other developers need to revisit it, they have all the information and the logic in place, which will save time and cut down on dependencies for the team.
Write modular code
Modularization makes code easier to understand and maintain. It is a code that is divided into independent chunks or modules. It reduces the need to write repetitive code. In this method, you can divide the software system into independent modules while making each class do just one thing. Modularization helps make code reusable, so it is also a good practice to aim for simple code that can be easily understood by other developers.
Think of the architecture
This will help you understand better what the code should be doing, what is going to be used, how it will be tested and updated and so on. Before writing the first line, think about the architecture to gain a better understanding of how to write it.
Make it iterative
It is a good idea to analyze what clients want before writing code, so you can select the most valuable features that can be developed quickly. Iterate quickly to deliver high-quality updates, instead of wasting resources on less crucial features.
Write secure code
Software attacks are on the increase everywhere. Insecure applications are vulnerable to hacker attacks. This can result in compromised data, loss of service to users, and damage to systems. Therefore, secure coding is important. Secure coding standards are guidelines that help prevent, detect, and eliminate coding errors that could potentially compromise the security of the application. For example, secure coding standards like CERT support programming languages like Java, C, and C++ and provide a risk assessment guide that shows the consequences of violation.
Writing good code can take time and additional effort but the results are well worth it. It can save time, reduce security risks, and support costs while helping in the overall maintenance of the software application. Keeping a checklist in mind while writing code may seem hard at first, but over time, programmers will find that it becomes easier, resulting in good code that becomes a joy to read.