When you are working with a team of developers, it’s important to begin the project with an understanding of the standards you will be setting to determine what kind of code is best for the project. Writing good code is your priority, and will obviously separate you from your less-experienced competitors.
For example, your team may be tasked with a new web application development project, or tasked with creating an application for a new IoT device your company is producing. Whether you develop this app in-house or use an outside resource, preparing the developers for the coming work involves getting everyone on the same page so you can work together without duplicating effort or making mistakes caused by poor communication.
Writing Good Code That Programmers Can Efficiently Debug and Use
At Applied Visions, we follow software development best practices in every project we undertake, whether it’s a new application for a kiosk, embedded code for an IoT device, or customized Software as a Service that runs in a cloud computing environment.
Remember that “every programming language has a style guide that tells you in great detail how to indent your code, where to put spaces and braces, how to name stuff, how to comment—all the good and bad practices,” according to a recent article at Informit.
Many long nights have been spent arguing over the relative value of software documentation. While that’s too broad a subject to address here, I’ll just say that some documentation is better than none. But what is relevant here is to always remember that the software source code is itself a form of documentation. It is a living, breathing collection of text that tells you precisely what the code will do, because it is the code. Therefore one of the most important characteristics of good code, even ahead of things like “efficiency,” is its readability. Code must be well-written, with meaningful variable and function names, formatted cleanly and consistently, and liberally enhanced by thoughtful, meaningful, and equally consistent comments.
You will want to make sure your programmers don’t fall into lazy habits, such as copying and pasting snippets of code, noted Informit. It’s better to abstract the most common sections of code into a class, macro, or routine.
Setting parameters for the project will also make work go more smoothly. “I believe it’s possible to construct a simple mental framework that can be used with any language or library and which will lead to good quality code by default,” notes web developer Christian Maioli Mackeprang in Linkedin.
He reminds developers to make their code easily readable: “Work towards having a predictable architecture. Your teammates will find it easier to locate things, and this will greatly reduce the time it takes them to get something done. Once you’ve agreed on an overall architectural structure for your project, make it obvious where the main elements are located.”
At the same time, you don’t want to fall into a common trap where your coders overdesign the project. Making it more complex to account for hypothetical future changes can wind up dragging down the team with unnecessary work. Focus on what is immediately in front of you in terms of customer requirements for the code as it will be used today.
Programming Quality Control with SCRAP
Without rigorous quality control, you cannot expect the code to turn out as good as the you need it to. Quality control is not simply a matter of verifying that the software works as described. Tyler Treat, writing in Brave New Geek, pointed out that “Quality is a very subjective thing. How do we narrow an immensely broad topic like ‘quality’ into a set of tangible, quantifiable goals?”
Treat developed his “SCRAP” checklist as an acronym: S is for scalability and means you should plan for growth. C is for complexity and indicates that your coders are planning for humans to interact with the software. R is for resiliency and reminds us to plan for failure. A is for API, meaning that you should plan to integrate your software with other systems. Finally, P is for performance and underscores the importance of planning how to execute the code.
As long as you motivate your team to follow coding best practices during each phase of custom software development, you will be more likely to meet customer and business requirements.