It’s no secret that writing complex code can be difficult is often prone to mistakes. Poorly written, rushed code can create a myriad of problems for your application down the line such as notable increases in technical debt and higher maintenance costs.
What, then, can be done to help ensure your team’s code does not fall prey to some of the most common (and costly) mistakes? Most, if not all, high-performance development teams adhere to a code review checklist. They can come in many shapes and sizes, but they all serve the same purpose: to help developers ensure their code is as error-free as possible and optimized for growth before final implementation. If your team does not already have a checklist, take a look at the list below for inspiration on some of the most important points to include.
Code does not exist in a vacuum, and it’s important for developers to keep this top of mind. The right measures should be in place so that your application can be easily understood and worked on by those beyond the original writers of the code. Any developer should be able to easily make out the roles of the specific functions, methods, and classes that appear.
One of the best ways to do so is to provide sufficient documentation. Documents should offer an explanation of the objectives of the project as well as an update of any new functionalities related to the new code.
Variables, functions, methods, and classes should be given intuitive, descriptive names for ease of understanding. Abbreviations should be avoided whenever possible to avoid any confusion. This will help save time for those who will inevitably end up tweaking the code in the future.
- Sound Architecture
It’s important to check that all newly-created code follows the defined architecture, resonating with existing patterns and technologies. Before implementing any design changes, developers must first document, approach, and baseline the new code. This helps ensure that the defined architecture is followed correctly and is easy to maintain. Teams with well-defined architecture in place will have smoother developer onboardings and an easier time understanding the code written by their peers.
There are many ways to get from point A to point B; however, it’s not only a developer’s job to get to point B, but also to get there in the most maintainable way possible. This means that any defects found in the future should be easy to identify and correct. This is done primarily by closely adhering to the other points described in this checklist. Creating understandable, reusable, and scalable code with sound architecture is the key to painless maintenance efforts in the future.
Note: Be sure to document any maintenance efforts with the same level of detail as that of new code.
Similar to checking for code maintainability, developers should also check for reusability. They should adhere to the DRY (Do not Repeat Yourself) principle, which instructs coders to avoid repeating lines of code. This reduces the number of places where the development team would need to look or apply changes should new features be developed.
That said, reusing services, functions, and components is highly advised. This helps standardize the user experience across the different areas of your application. Similarly, using generic functions and classes can also help reusability efforts. Generic functions will provide the best baseline for the development of new features, which is often cheaper to implement and safer because it’s already been tested and used by thousands of companies.
Lastly, code must be revised for scalability. Can it support an unexpectedly high volume of users? Can it support your company’s growth and the increased user base that comes along with it? To ensure scalability, speed and performance must be optimized. A good way to check your scalability is to perform regular load tests. This will provide you with an average baseline of maximum users permitted on your application, which can help with your business’ strategic planning.
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While it’s impossible to write code that is 100% foolproof, the 5 points discussed above can help your team avoid costly mistakes and get on track to developing and maintaining code that will stand the test of time.
About the authorJuan Pablo González
Working as Foreworth’s Chief Technical Officer, Juan Pablo (JP) manages the company’s technical strategy. With nearly 20 years of experience in software development, he ensures the development process at Foreworth is meeting its keys objectives and technical requirements.More info →