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Top 5 Reasons That Make Your Code Smell

Top 5 Reasons That Make Your Code Smell


The term code smells were first introduced by Kent Beck in the 1990s. It is a common programming term that refers to violations in the fundaments of software development. Code smells are not to be confused with bugs or errors. The term is used to refer to practices that can negatively affect the quality of your code. Coding is not just about getting outputs but also involves getting programs to perform as efficiently and effectively as possible. 


What Makes Your Code Smell and How Can You Remove Smells

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Here are some of the most common code smells that you may be committing when developing software. 

Duplicated Code: While there are projects that allow you to duplicate chunks of code from a common repository that is publicly available, it is not a reliable practice. Many programmers who lift code off of sources like GitHub do not verify the integrity of the code. While it is okay to make use of old code, refactoring code should also involve checking and auditing your duplicated code. You need to refactor code before implementing it into your project. You can also create abstract classes for commonly used code or adopt unique design patterns to ensure you do not have code smells. 

You may like: What is duplicate code?


Mismanaged Class Size: SOLID design principles are meant to help developers achieve flexible, maintainable, and understandable software. Most programmers implement SOLID design principles but often mismanage the single-responsibility principle. The most common code smell arises out of programmers who end up writing bloated classes with thousands of lines of code. It is very difficult to maintain bloated code which is why having a single-responsibility principle in your coding guidelines is a must.

Other programmers, on the other hand, take the single-responsibility principle too seriously and have small class sizes that are hard to refactor or maintain. Your class sizes should be moderate in size and should make sense. Striking the right balance when creating classes is important to ensure you do not have too little or too many lines of code in your program.


Poor Method Names: Developers tend to overlook naming for their methods. All methods end up being named in a generic fashion which makes conveying anything to code auditors very difficult. While it can be difficult to find the right name for your method without deep diving into your code, poor method names an make it even harder for developers want to understand your code. There needs to be consistency in your method naming to ensure developers can simply look at the names and understand what they do. But you also need to not be obsessed with poor method names which can be too difficult to interpret. Names that are full of text or unreadable can make auditing or understanding code very difficult. 


Comments: It is important to leave comments in your code to help developers understand your code. But leaving too many comments ruins the flow of your code. Comments can be very helpful when it comes to explaining the logic behind specific parts of your code. But developers tend to overuse comments and there is absolutely no reason to leave comments for every step of your program. It is a bad idea to have excessive noise in your code and it can render reading your code very difficult. Self-documenting coding practices is the best way forward when it comes to leaving comments.

Your code should be self-explanatory and allow developers to understand it with minimal comments. Documentation comments are important but overusing them can lead to problems. Your comments should focus on why you chose to write a certain piece of code instead of what it does. Most developers who audit are fully capable of understanding code but helping them understand your coding methods is very helpful. 


Conditional Statements: Your strategy patterns need to be backed up by conditional statements. Most developers do not make use of conditional statements while on the other hand, some developers make use of statements far too often. You should avoid having large conditional blocks in your code that make reading code difficult. Large blocks of conditional statements can bloat your code and make your code spell. It is important to have the right strategy and keep your code as streamlined as possible. You can refer to similar programs that are in the market for reference. 


Recommended read: Everything you need to know about Code Smells


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These are the top five signs that you need to look out for to find out if you have code smells. It is important to keep your code as concise as possible while also leaving enough comments to ensure developers understand your code and can easily audit it. It is your responsibility to prevent code smells and adopt the best coding practices. Making a habit of preventing code smell reduces the amount of effort it takes to audit, patch, or copy over code for future projects. 

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