Anyone can write code. But good code? That’s where it gets tough.
We’ve all heard horror stories about spaghetti code, massive if-else chains, entire programs that can break just by changing one variable, functions that look like they were obfuscated, and so on. That’s what happens when you try to make a shippable product with only a semester of programming experience under your belt.
Don’t settle for writing code that works. Aim to write code that can be maintained — not only by yourself, but by anyone else who may end up working on the software at some point in the future. To that end, here are several principles to help you clean up your act.Computer Science Computer Science Computer Science Computer Science Computer Science
The “keep it simple, stupid” principle applies to pretty much all of life, but it’s especially necessary in medium-to-large programming projects.
It starts way in the beginning when you’re defining the scope of what you want to create. Just because you’re passionate about game development doesn’t mean you can create the next World of Warcraft or Grand Theft Auto. When you think you’ve simplified enough, simplify it one level further — feature creep is inevitable, so start small.Computer Science Computer Science Computer Science Computer Science Computer Science
But even after coding has begun, keep it simple. Complex code takes longer to design and write, is more prone to bugs and errors, and is harder to modify later down the road. In the wise words of Antoine de Saint-Exupery, “Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”
The “don’t repeat yourself” principle is crucial for clean and easy-to-modify code. When writing code, you want to avoid duplication of data and duplication of logic. If you notice the same chunk of code being written over and over again, you’re breaking this principle.