15 March 2013

Keep it small

It has been written about before. Its nothing new. Yet it is so difficult to keep the code small and I am talking about functions, files and modules.

Every day I see functions that are so large that its more or less impossible to understand what it does. Writing unit test takes more time than writing the acutal product code. Metrics like cyclomatic complexity and fan-in/fan-out is so high you get terrified. The code speak:

- Don’t touch me! You are on a mine field!

Why is it so hard to write good code?

We can’t blaim lack of tools because there are a dozens of the them out ther. Some of them are even free!

I belive its about people and culture. If you are working in a enviroment were people only focus on delivery, the quick and dirty solution will often be the way forward. And often it works fine. Its first when someone new looks at the code the problems gets visible. If same people work with the same code all the time, the problem gets hidden, because they have grown togehter with the code and knew the history behind every statement.

By writing small functions, your code gets easier to maintain, understand and modify.
By writing small functions, it gets easier to write tests, which is you saftey net tomorrow.
By writing small functions, its easier to reuse code and keeps the footprint smaller.
By writing small functions, the are less bugs and they are easier to find.

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