5 sure proof ways to improve your code’s quality
Following these suggestions will mitigate the risks, limit the impact, and lead you to better products by the way of better code.
If you have ever rushed through software development, you already know what poorly written code can do. Low-quality code is prone to bugs and errors, is difficult to maintain, and even harder to update and upgrade. Bad code leads to bad software. That’s why so many project managers are worried about the code quality, as it is the foundation on which the whole software will rest.
The solution – aim for the highest quality code. Simple enough, right? Sure, as long as you know what “high quality” means when talking about code. Believe it or not, the definition is more subjective than you would initially think. Your in-house developers might think of it in one way. IT staffing services might see it differently. And freelance coders may understand this differently.
Yet, even for all the varying definitions on good or bad code, software developers all agree on something: you should always strive for high-quality code. That’s why it is important for everyone involved in software development to take care of the quality when working on a project. How can you do that? By following these 5 sure proof ways to improve its quality.
Have More than Just One Person Review the Code
You surely don’t need to be reminded that you’ll want to review the code you’ve written before passing it along to other members of the team or including it on the project. But maybe you need a gentle reminder that it’s better if you seek help when reviewing it. Even when you think that everything is ok, having an extra pair of eyes looking at what you’ve developed won’t hurt.
How so? Because the other person might spot things you may have overlooked. And since there are so many things included in a code review, it’s better if you think of it as a team effort. Thus, you should work with a partner or partners to check whether your code breaks convention rules, its maintainability, its error handling, and its completeness.
Of course, you can always help one of your colleagues with the code they’ve written, creating a virtuous cycle in which all of the code you write as a team gets a review. You can even hire one IT staffing company to supplement your needs!
Constantly Integrate your Work
Continuous Integration has become somewhat of a common practice today – and for a reason. With it, your software development team can be sure that everything that you’re working on is perfectly integrated with the rest of the components of your project.
Besides, by frequently integrating your work into the build, you’ll get faster feedback that will let you write better code. If something doesn’t work right away, you can revisit and correct it before moving on – and before the problem gets bigger.
The process of Continuous Integration will have you following two rules. The first is that you have to keep your build fast. And the second is that you have to fix whatever is broken immediately. As the name implies, CI means you’re constantly integrating solid blocks to a stable base – and you’ll only do so if you keep everything fixed as you go.
Have Some Coding Conventions in Place
Making sure that the entire team works in coordination is key to the success of the project and for ensuring the quality of the code. That’s why you need to establish some coding conventions before starting the work. This will have you and your team discussing their preferred conventions and coming up with a list that registers how you’ll work with the code.
The number of rules can vary from team to team and project to project, so you’ll have to figure out what works for you. However, as a rule of thumb, don’t aim for a rigid coding conventions document. As you work and move forward with your project, you’ll find that there are rules missing that you should include – and rules that make no sense that you’ll have to get rid of.
Once everyone in the team is somewhat happy with the coding conventions, everyone should become its guardian. In other words, everyone will have to strictly adhere to whatever conventions you agreed upon. You can use a linter to automate the process of checking the conventions, which will keep your code readable and maintainable by making it more uniform.
Test Everything as Much as Needed
High-quality code has very few bugs. That’s why you need to test your code a lot since it’s the only way you’ll know if it’s working as you want. Of course, this doesn’t mean you have to run tests just for the sake of it. First and foremost, you have to design a test strategy that defines what tests will you carry out and when will you execute them.
Since there are so many types of tests, this will depend on the project you’re working on and your own personal approach to testing. There are, however, tests that you shouldn’t miss, especially unit tests. Through these, you’ll ensure that all program modules are fit for use.
Naturally, you can add more tests, as long as it makes sense for your team and your way of working. You could include integration testing or regression testing, for example. As long as you are running constant tests to ensure that your code is doing what is supposed to, you’ll be fine.
Learn From Your Mistakes
Everyone involved in software development knows that you will find bugs in your code sooner or later. It’s a fact. What you do with them, though, is another story. There are developers or even entire teams that only worry about fixing them to move on to the next thing. While that might be the way to go for that particular project, it doesn’t help you improve your code quality in the long run.
Instead, you should take a look at the bugs and try to learn why they happened in the first place. Examining them in detail can help you detect flaws in your development process, holes in your texting methods, or weaknesses in your team. You should always learn something from the bugs you find in your software, especially how to avoid them from happening again.
Fortunately, there are several tools you can use to automate bug detection and that will aid you in understanding why they are there in the first place.
Some Final Words
As you surely suspect, this isn’t a complete list of ways to improve your code. There are a lot of other ways that can complement these measures and lead you to the highest possible quality. However, the 5 mentioned here are among the most basic things you can do, so you’d better implement them in all of your projects.
Even if you consider that you or your team are excellent coders, implementing these is essential. That’s because even the best experts in the field make mistakes and introduce bugs that compromise the code’s quality. Following these suggestions will mitigate the risks, limit the impact, and lead you to better products by the way of better code.
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