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6 coding practices everyone must know

As long as you follow these coding practices, you will find that it is easier for other people to read your code.

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Image: Pixabay

In law firm web design, or any type of web design for that matter, it is necessary for the programmers to follow a certain set of coding practices that will make the project proceed faster and smoother, as well as make it easier to clean up any mistakes and reduce the chances of future mistakes occurring.

These are tried and true coding practices that many developers have learned the hard way. Fortunately, their mistakes, mishaps, and misadventures are to your benefit. After all, they made those mistakes so you don’t have to.

So, if you follow these six coding practices in your law firm website development, then you don’t have to worry about making any gaffes that someone else will eventually learn from.

Consistent Indentation

Even though indentation is one of the most important parts of computer programming, it does not affect how the code runs or the size of the program, which is probably why so many programmers don’t follow this practice. Consistent indentation does not affect the running of the code but it makes the program easier to read and understand. It also makes it easier to see where one block of code ends and another begins.

You should practice consistent indentation no matter the type of programming language being used because it makes it easier to go over the program and find out if a line of code is not in the right place. A program is only written once, but it is read and reread many different times, and consistent indentation provides some much needed—and much appreciated—clarity to future readers. In summary, consistent indentation makes code:

  1. Simple to read.
  2. Simple for readers to understand.
  3. Simple to identify and fix mistakes.

Use a Consistent Naming Scheme

Much like the first practice in this article, a consistent naming scheme also helps to improve the readability of the code and make it much easier to understand. A good naming scheme should quickly and clearly indicate what the function does, one good way of doing this is by using natural language instead of assembly language. It is easier to read and the computer can still follow instructions written in a natural way.

You should also avoid having one name cover several different concepts, if each action or concept is different, then they should each have a distinctive name to represent that concept or action. Conversely, you should avoid having a single concept that is covered by several different names. Using synonyms instead of the same word over and over again is a great practice when writing prose, but when writing code, it can be confusing and redundant. For example, using both the words “remove” and “delete” is unnecessary when they both mean the same thing, it is better to choose one and stick with it.

Avoid Excessive Nesting

The general rule of thumb is that you should never have more than three levels of nesting; if you do, then the code becomes difficult to read and refactor. This rule can be broken if you have four, or even five, levels of nesting as long as they are easy to read. Where we run into problems is when the nesting runs ten or more levels deep, to the point where even two large monitors can barely contain the coding behemoth being written. In this case, it pays to follow another cardinal rule: KISS, aka Keep It Simple Stupid.

Limit Line Length

Historically, the rule is that lines should be no more than eighty characters long, but many feel that this rule is outdated because of the wider monitors that can accommodate long lines of code. While it is true that monitors are bigger, the human mind is still resolutely old-fashioned, what that means is that it is easier for us to read lines that are roughly eighty characters in length, whether it is in a book or on a computer screen. And as stated frequently, so far, clear, readable code is the most desirable. Or to put it this way, reading a 110 line code may not be a problem for some people, but reading an eighty line code is not a problem for anyone.

Separate Code and Data

This is one of those practices that is often challenged by newer developers, even though it has been used for years. Among the reasons why this practice gained traction is that it is more secure because it prevents the execution of any potential bad code. The separation of code and data also means that it is easier to share data between different applications and languages.

Code Refactoring

Code refactoring is the process of restructuring the code without changing the function of said code. This is one of the most basic, and most important, practices in programming because you rarely ever get it right the first time out. This goes for pretty much everything, so computer programming is no different, and for much the same reasons.

One of them is that you learn more about the project as you work on it, so you know more at the end of the project than at the beginning, which means that you can use that greater knowledge to rewrite or redesign the code to improve it. Refactoring doesn’t have to be a bad thing, as long as it is meant to keep up with the ever-shifting and constantly changing codebase.

These Practices Improve Your Speed and Efficiency

Law firm website development is not easy, but it doesn’t have to be extremely difficult either. As long as you follow these coding practices, you will find that it is easier for other people to read your code. You will also find that identifying problems and altering the code to fix those problems is much easier. The common theme with all of these practices is that they make the code much easier to read, which is great for everyone at every stage of the project.

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Just another guy who likes to write about tech and gadgets.

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