Clean coding is important for programmers and companies. But, for various reasons, there isn’t much stress on writing clean codes. This leads to project complexity and cost escalation.
There is coding and there is good coding. Coding is done for machines. Good coding is done for both machines and humans. While India’s software industry is popular across the globe, unfortunately, Indian coding standards are not up to the mark. Of course, there are outliers but, in general, clean coding is not our strength. A survey by Aspiring Minds finds that the United States has almost four times more engineers, with good coding skills as compared to India. It also reveals that around 37.7% of Indian engineers cannot write error-free codes.
Writing clean code is very relevant in today’s software development environment. In programming parlance, it is said that when you are not writing clean codes, it means you are creating programming debt. It doesn’t mean that the software for which the code is written will not work. The software will operate all right but the next programmer who would be working on the software would find it a lot tougher and will take a longer time to understand it. This will significantly increase the company’s expenses.
Most of the software programmers in India are not even aware of the importance of clean coding. And there are many factors for it. Most of the students choose to pursue software engineering not out of passion but for the career opportunities it offers. This results in a reluctance to learn new concepts outside the curriculum or stay updated on the latest industry practices. The learning curriculum in most engineering colleges is outdated and doesn’t offer students exposure to best practices in coding. There’s very little industry-institute collaboration for the students to know how things work in real life. And the bigger problem is, in the majority of IT companies, there’s very little focus on clean coding. The priority is on driving productivity and meeting deadlines.
With software development getting complex and fast paced, Indian programmers need to up their game and improve their coding quality. It is beneficial for companies also to invest in helping their employees improve their programming skills as it will drive efficiency, minimize complexity, reduce bugs and increase productivity. All this will add to company revenues and profits.
At Gemini Consulting & Services, we actively encourage clean coding and have set up standards for the coding procedures. All our software engineers are trained on clean coding and that helps us in driving productivity, efficiency and complete projects faster. Click here to know more about our services.
Whatever programming language you may be writing at there are some coding standards or fundamentals that one must adhere to. Here are few clean coding best practices.
- Think of humans not machines while writing codes. Write codes that your colleagues can easily understand. While the focus should be on making the logic run and the software to work properly, write codes to make people understand what was done, what’s happening and how.
- Comment while writing code. It helps the next developer working on the software quickly understand the code. Comment on every routine, method, function and various parameters. Also comment on the role of each file, class, errors and return values etc. The rule of thumb is to put comments at every step or instance where you think a little bit of explanation will help.
- Follow the Don’t Repeat Yourself or DRY principle. Instead of duplicating the code at multiple places, consolidate the code in one place. This helps you maintain the code. So, if later on you or any other developer wants to change the code, he/she doesn’t have to change the codes at multiple places.
- Avoid nested codes. It is tough to read and understand. Write linear codes that are easy on the eyes and brain.
- Use short line lengths and fix formatting issues by using code analysis tools like linters.
- Refactoring of code is important to clean up your code. Restructure your code without changing its external behavior. This should be done if you’re working on updating an existing software or enhancing its features.
Clean coding in India is more of an awareness and practice problem than issues with skills. Both, Indian programmers and software companies, need to give it a priority and promote clean coding. This not only makes business sense but also helps in creating a positive impression on the industry.