By Gerald Mücke | June 27, 2018
How to write good code
A couple of days ago I stumbled over a tweet on Twitter. It contained a list of catchy phrases what makes good writing. Developers also write, but more code than prose texts, so I wondered how applicable this list is to coding as well. So I came up with my own list, which might be a bit less catchy but is hopefully a usefully assembly of good coding practices or guiding principles.
The following list is taken from this tweet How to write good.
How to write good. pic.twitter.com/iJTaKZ6r5u— You Had One Job (@_youhadonejob1) 14. Juni 2018
These are the points on the list
- Avoid Alliteration. Always.
- Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.
- Avoid cliches like the plaque. They’re old hats.
- Comparisons are as bad as cliches.
- Be more or less specific.
- Writes should never generalize.
Seven: Be consistent.
Although this is related to writing texts, parts of it are relevant to writing code as well.
Same rules, different context
For writing code or software in general, I re-interpreted the list. Although each point is a bit less catchy now, I hope it’s a good collection of good coding practices.
- Avoid baroque code, Keep It Short and Simple KISS
- Make control and data flows clear and concise. Handle alternative flows first (return/fail fast) and avoid exception handling for control flows. Write Light-bulb methods
- Write solutions to your particular problem and scale. Avoid Cargo Cult and Premature Optimization.
- Upfront thinking helps you identify concepts and patterns to make good abstractions but avoid Premature Abstractions. Don’t create an abstraction for less than 3 cases.
- Take care of proper naming of types, methods, variables and constants. Naming is part of the user experience for a developer and thus should be self-explanatory. “Don’t make me think!"
- Use the right data structures that suit best your use case. If you’re using a typed language, make good use of it and avoid too generic parameters or return values (Strings and Objects). No Generic and Unspecified Messages (GUM).
- Agree on and enforce coding rules to keep your code consistent. Coding is like Bowling, there are rule! “Smokey, this is not ‘Nam, there are rules!"
- Don’t do the same thing over and over again. Don’t be redundant. Don’t Repeat Yourself (DRY)
- Spend more effort on critical aspects and logic, keep those areas Clean, Concise, Correct and Checked (C4) and avoid bikeshedding.
- Don’t over-engineer things, You Ain’t Gonna Need It! (YAGNI)