10 Tips for Better Coding - Deepstash
10 Tips for Better Coding

10 Tips for Better Coding

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1. Use a Coding Standard

1. Use a Coding Standard

It’s easy to write bad, unorganized code, but it’s hard to maintain such code. Good code typically follows some standard for naming conventions, formatting, etc. Such standards are nice because they make things deterministic to those who read your code afterwards, including yourself. Use something like StyleCop to practice good habits.

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2. Write Useful Comments

2. Write Useful Comments

Comments are crucial. You won’t appreciate them until you leave your thousand-line script for a couple of days and return to and try and make sense of it. Anyone who can read code knows WHAT the code is doing. Explain WHY you've done it this way. 

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3. Avoid Global Code

3. Avoid Global Code

Global variables and loops are a mess and can prove problematic when your application grows to millions of lines of code (which most do!). They may influence code elsewhere that is difficult to discern, or cause noisy naming clashes. Think twice before you pollute the global namespace with variables, functions, loops, etc. ALWAYS USE NAMESPACES.

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4. Use Meaningful Names

4. Use Meaningful Names

Never use names like $k , $m , and $test for your variables. How do expect to read such code in the future? Good code should be meaningful in terms of variable names, function/method names, and class names. Some good examples of meaningful names are: $request , $dbResult , and $tempFile (depending on your coding style guidelines these may use underscores, camelCase, or PascalCase).

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5. Use Version Control Software

5. Use Version Control Software

Managing changes and revisions should be easy but effective, so pick whatever version control software that will work best with the workflow of your development team. I prefer using a distributed version control tool like Git or Mercurial; both are free software/open source and very powerful.

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6. Use Automated Build Tools

6. Use Automated Build Tools

Try to use tools like Ant or Phing to get your source prepared, compressed, and deployed. Building your whole application with a single command is a marvelous way to prevent errors and omissions that are inherent when performing repetitive tasks.

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7. Use Code Documenters

7. Use Code Documenters

For large applications spanning several classes and namespaces, you should have automatically generated API documentation. This is very useful and keeps the development team aware of “what’s what.” And if you work on several projects at the same time, you will find such documentation a blessing since you may forget about structures switching back and forth between projects.

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8. Write tests

8. Write tests

It's easy to overlook writing tests for a simple application, but as they grow in size it becomes increasingly important to be sure a change in one location after a time doesn't break something. Having tests makes sure the specific process you're testing always stays functional as intended.

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