December 11, 2023


Your Partner in The Digital Era

Next programming ‘best practices’ will slow you down

Who has not stolen a cookie from the jar when Mom was not looking?

Or stayed out with friends very long right after bedtime?

Or — God forbid — taken the shortcut as a result of the park the place shady men and women lurk, rather of likely the extended way in excess of the major street?

Or, of course oh yes, which programmer hasn’t violated 1 of all those etched-in-stone most effective methods, you know, a person of the ones that you must comply with at all prices?

It is risk-free to say that many, if not most, of us have accomplished this right before. But maybe your rule-breaking is particularly why your code was far better than regular. At the very least it did not make you drop your task. Or make your laptop or computer explode at runtime.

Sure, breaking regulations is never without hazard. If you are a mind surgeon, you seriously should adhere to the rule of “never slice this piece off.” (Forgive me for my bluntness, I’m no healthcare professional.)

But if you are constructing software program, what is the worst case? Confident, if you are coming up with killer drones or application for electric grids or assist programs for spaceships you may well want to go gradual and adhere to the principles.

But people programmers who really do not have large stakes like that — and which is most of us — you may possibly want to issue your rulebook from time to time.

Copy-pasting code is not the root of all evil

The die-tricky open-sourcers and the die-challenging purists could argue usually. But, in all earnesty, who hasn’t copy-pasted code snippets from StackOverflow and other areas of the big large world wide web?

Very first of all, if you have a problem that requires five seconds to google, you would not go annoy your coworker for ten minutes to make them take care of it. And if the answer is on Stack, then, very well, the remedy is there.

The purists would argue that you should not copy anything at all mainly because you could not comprehend what is likely on in the copied code. And they have a level.

But if you are googling close to anyway, you are rather probably heading to verify the manual internet pages of the operate that you are copying in excess of in any case. Plus, you’re in all probability going to need to regulate a couple variable names and have an understanding of the place to set that snippet of code. That is not possible without the need of a minimal of comprehension.

Another place for the purists is that your ready-to-copy-paste code may well comprise non-printable characters. These are figures like a backspace or a horizontal tab that you can’t see on your display, but that can have an effect on the output in any case.

Purists would therefore argue that if you are going to duplicate code, at minimum variety it on your own so you really do not unintentionally duplicate non-printable figures and make a mess of your job.

That’s neat guidance, but individually I do not know any person who has at any time bumped into a non-printable character and messed up their code. I do know an individual, while, who introduces typos just about everywhere: me.

Some bugs you’ll never see with a naked eye. Image by author