What is Clean Code?

Building a program is relatively easy once you know what to do. However, fixing other people’s problems is a whole new level of frustration if the code is filthy and requires years of clean-up to be even understood properly. 

When building a new application from scratch, you can build it so that any developer that comes after you to maintain it, knows what to do, and they and the world will be grateful to you for it.

Clean code is one of the few miracles that we rarely find in this world, which is a really big problem. Here is what you should know about clean code and why it is so rare.

Clean Code – Make it Understandable!

The most common issue with code is that others cannot understand it. It doesn’t mean that the said others, meaning other programmers, don’t know how to code, but that the documentation and comments on the variables are either bad or non-existent.

A machine can understand your code, that isn’t the issue, but when it comes to maintenance and upgrades, other developers have to know what the variables do, which is why clean code is very important.

Clean code refers to code that is simple to understand and if not self-explanatory, then explained through thorough documentation or comments in the very source of the code. Explaining the variables goes a long way and saves anyone who interacts with the source code from frustration and work hours.

Do Not Overdo it With Size

Size does matter in programming, especially when writing functions. Do not make functions large and probable to have side effects. Side effects are when a function does something it wasn’t intended to do. The longer a function is, the more side effects it can have.

You should put conditionals as a part of a function, thereby creating cleaner code and making it easier to understand. Naming things appropriately will also help. Always name things so that everyone can pronounce them. If they cannot be pronounced, you are doing something wrong.

Fewer arguments are better. If a function has more arguments, then more information can be provided, but more mistakes can be made, which is why you should make it simpler. 

Do Not Duplicate Code or Leave it in Comments

These are the two evils of programming, the first one much worse than the second one. The first one refers to having duplicate code lines. Whenever a single change needs to be made, it would have to be made twice, or multiple times, thanks to duplicate code.

If you leave code in the comments, that means that people will not know why it is there, unless there is a very good explanation for it. Clean up your comments and leave functional information there, to help others and not scare them from deleting unnecessary code which you forgot.

Clean code is a practice that people rarely do, which makes code easy to understand and work with for other programmers. Clean code is one of the best things you can practice when programming, so heed these tips in order not to invoke pain on others.

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