Programming

Code quality checks

Code quality is a weak spot in nearly every software project. This is especially true for legacy projects. What once was elegant, over time became rougher and finally incomprehensible. Monitoring and fixing code quality issues is something that has been proven to increase the quality of the application and decrease the delivery time to stakeholders. Unfortunately, a large portion of developers do not monitor for code quality or ignore fixing any quality issues.

Testing myth #2: Unit tests are not worth it

There are a lot of developers and managers who think that writing unit tests is just extra work. Suggesting that we should write more unit tests seems to receive ill responses. I think there are many people out there who still don’t understand the purpose of unit testing. This kind of thinking is probably the result of following kind of experiences: Writing unit tests is really hard and time consuming. Even small changes in requirements keep breaking the unit tests. Unit tests are not finding any real bugs. It is not that writing unit tests is somehow fundamentally laborious. These kind of experiences are symptoms of something else.

Testing myth #1: Writing tests slows you down

Let’s assume we have decided to increase the stability of our software. So we decide to write tests for our code. The problem is that the customer is requesting new features and deadlines are approaching. Testing will slow us down. We can skip them now and write them later, right? Wrong. Testing will not slow us down. Also if we decide to skip writing them it’s almost 100% certain that they won’t be written at all.

Make better git commits

Version control systems provide a way to track changes between source code versions. Git is most likely the most commonly used one nowadays. Git can be used in different ways and there is no one correct way to do it. However, there are some pitfalls that might make tracking of changes harder than it should be. There are a lot of more thorough articles like Commit Often, Perfect Later, Publish Once on the subject.

Avoiding unnecessary null checks

The most common reason for writing null checks is that you run into a null pointer exception. The second most common reason is that you happened to think about it at some certain case. The problem is that you are not probably handling null in every single method call. This means that there are potential bugs lurking everywhere. Null pointer exceptions are bad. Would it not be better if you did not have to check for nulls at all?

Misconceptions about code reuse

We all have been taught that reusable code is good. We all know why we should do it but there are some misconceptions about how to do it. There are two common misconceptions about reusable code: Using inheritance in order to achieve code reuse. Creating a static utility or helper class in order to reuse methods. Mostly these misconceptions are the result of procedural thinking. People usually understand how certain object-oriented principles work.

How to prevent legacy code from emerging

Every software developer has faced the situation. You have been assigned a task to add or change a feature. You know nothing about the particular feature but it does not sound too complex. This is what you think until you look at the code. You quickly realize that the code is a mess. A monolithic monster with a lot of copy-paste code, no comments, implementation full of anti-patterns and there are no tests at all.