Consejos código de programación Development

5 Programming Tips for Writing Better Code

11/04/23 7 min. read

Let’s look at 5 awesome programming tips to make our code much better, more readable, and easier to understand to make life easier for our team. 😁

Before getting into the subject… why is it important to apply good practices when programming?

Most of us start in this sector in our homes in a self-taught way or following formal training. We start to write our first lines of code just for ourselves or to be corrected, so… “what does it matter if it is more or less beautiful if it is mine and just for my eyes…”. Careful! 🚩

But when we start programming at a professional level we will usually work in development teams and we will not be alone, so we have to try to follow some standards and good practices for several reasons. First of all, so that you are able in the future to understand your own code. Second, so that your colleagues also understand it, because remember: you are no longer alone in your programmer’s cave!

Here we are going to give you a couple of tips (in fact, five tips) and examples (all the examples exposed will be in javascript language) with the aim of improving the quality of your code so that your future self and your colleagues hate you a little less… As a cherry on top, at the end of the article, we also leave you some tools to check the quality of your code. 😎

Let’s get started!

Double-check: What happens if we don’t apply these tips? 🤔

If we do not apply them every time we adapt the project based on the needs of the users, it will be much more difficult to keep adding functionalities and improvements for ourselves as well as for our current and future colleagues.

5 best practices to help you write better code

Tip #1: use indentation

The indentation is used to correctly reposition the code using the space in the lines of the code so that its reading at first glance is much more pleasant. In languages such as Python, it is completely mandatory to use them, because otherwise, the code does not work, but in languages such as javascript, c#, or others it is not.

In the following image we can see a code with several IF conditional statements and their corresponding ELSE, but without any indentation applied, which makes it very difficult to understand the logics applied in it.

use of indentation in code

Below, you can see the same piece of code but with this tip applied, which reads much easier and helps to understand the conditional sets better.

use of indentation in code

Tip #2: Descriptive variables

In this case a picture is worth a thousand words, let’s try to understand what we see in this code.

descriptive variables in the code

Can you tell what is contained in the variables varGen. Var1, 2 and 3? Not really. And now?

descriptive variables in the code

The variables that we can see in the first image of this tip do not describe at any point what we are going to use them for. In contrast to the second image in which we can:

  • See what we have created them for.
  • What we store in them.
  • What we want to use them for in the future.

Storing a value Date: 05/03/2023 in a variable called “var1” is not the same as storing it in a variable called “date”.

Tip #3: Avoid code repetition🔁

This practice is more common than we imagine. Logically, the example we are going to show here is very simple and identifiable, but in other cases, it will be a little more difficult.

Do you see any part of the code repeated?

code repetitions
code repetitions

Yes, the two functions we have shown always need, before performing their action, to query the state of the database, but we don’t need to repeat this code as many times as needed.

What needs to be done is to create a common function to unify this repeated code and use it where needed.

Let’s show the improved code:

code without repetitions
code without repetitions
code without repetitions

Tip #4: Comment on your code briefly

A very simple action to improve the understanding of the project code is to add short comments at the beginning of the functions to know what parameters the function will receive, what it will return if anything, and what logic it applies inside.

In this image we can see an example of what it is NOT briefly:

comments in the code

Don’t go crazy adding comments in the code 🤯. We can help the team by adding small comments explaining the functionality of the method, but we don’t need to explain absolutely everything, in this case, I would do the following:

comments in the code

I’ll let you in on a secret: if it’s in English, all the better. You will reach a lot more people.

comments in the code

Tip #5: Try it out

Last but not least, test your code as much as you can and more. You have at your disposal several tools and techniques that can help you to do so.

We have different types of tests:

  • Functional Testing: verifies functions by emulating business scenarios, based on functional requirements.
  • Integration Testing: ensures that software components or functions operate together.
  • Unit testing: validates that each software unit works as expected. A unit is the smallest test component of an application.
  • Stress testing: tests how much stress the system can withstand before it fails. Considered as a type of non-functional test.

👉👉 Here you have an article of ours in which we give a first look at the creation of integration tests for a javascript project.

They may seem very simple or we may think that none of us would fall into misapplying any of these tips we have mentioned, but it is much more common than we think.

Code quality tools 👀

Some tools help us in the challenge of having a clean and maintainable code such as:

  • Sonarqube: is the most popular code quality and security analysis tool on the market. With the support of the open-source community, Sonarqube can currently analyze and produce results for more than 25 programming languages.
code quality analysers
  • PMD: is an open-source static source code analyzer that reports problems found within the source code of an application.1 PMD includes built-in default rule sets and supports the ability to write custom rules. It does not report compilation errors, as it can only process well-formed source files. It is capable of parsing files written in Java, JavaScript, Apex and Visualforce, PLSQL, Apache Velocity, XML, and XSL languages.
code quality analysers
code quality analysers

In summary, these 5 programming tips for writing code, apart from helping the whole team of a specific project and creating a good, bomb-proof product, are fundamentally positive for your development as a programmer and for becoming a little bit better every day.

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Raquel Rodríguez

Santander Digital Services

Full Stack Developer and curious about technologies since I was a child. I have managed to dedicate myself to it and share my knowledge with as many people as possible.

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