Clean code is essential to create a scalable and maintainable product, bad code can make product maintainability a disaster. Writing clean code makes it easier for programmers to understand.
Good code can be defined as a code that is of high quality. Good software should have clean, consistent and easy to understand code. Sometimes programmers write ambiguous code due to time constraints and deadlines. This might result in bugs and take more time to fix it due to code complexity.
What makes a clean code?
Attributes that define code quality include:
- Readability – The code should be readable and understandable. Enhance the readability of the code by using meaningful names for variables and functions. Add proper whitespace, indentation or line breaks to make the code more readable.
- Consistency – Programmers working on different modules should follow formatting and coding style to make the code consistent.
- Reliability – Reliability refers to a reliable codebase that will make a product run without failure.
- Maintainability – Maintainable code relies on factors such as testability and understandability. To have a maintainable codebase, the code should be consistent and well structured.
- Modularity – The code should follow a logical structure. Independent blocks of functionality should be enfolded in a module so any change in functionality doesn’t affect the entire code.
Steps to improve code quality
Code quality can be checked as the code is written, when running a test or when the code is committed. Here are some methods that can help improve the quality of the code.
Use a coding standard
A coding standard emphasizes that every programmer uses the same coding style. The Coding standard helps to write consistent and readable code. Some of the coding best practices include using meaningful names for variables, functions, classes, arguments and methods. Coding conventions for the project should document information on naming convention and coding guidelines. Add comments wherever required to explain what a chunk of code does and to help in future code enhancement. Don’t clutter the code with comments as it might distract the programmers. Ensure to update the comments section when code is being updated.
Adopt Test Driven Development
A well-defined test strategy can improve the quality of the code. Developers can adopt test-driven development that involves creating test cases that well-written code should be able to pass through. The key idea is to figure out all the loopholes that could make the code goes wrong and fix them in advance.
Manual Code Review
Manual code review can be done by reading the source code line by line to check for structure, style, logic and readability. The problem with manual code review is it requires patience and skill.
Use Automated Code Review Tools
Integrate automated code review tools into your project. These tools help to improve the code by suggesting feedback after commit. The code will be reviewed after each commit and issues are categorized in a dashboard. Common mistakes include coding style, compatibility, security and errors. Fixing the issues suggested by the tool can have a positive impact on the code.
Some of the popular code review tools include:
- Code Climate
- Visual Studio Code
Use a Linter
Some of the popular linters include:
The above methods can drive programmers to improve code quality. The tools can increase the productivity and effectiveness of the developers.