Coding is a valuable skill in today’s job market. Software programmers and others need to be effective coders to complete projects quickly and avoid costly dysfunction or bugs. There are multiple ways to approach coding, and some methods lead to greater efficiency than others. The following are four factors that make coding easier, which you would be remiss not to consider if you want to be the best coder you can be.
- Using Version Control Software
Version control is software that tracks all the changes anyone makes to a file. It is indispensable for group projects because each member can always see who made a change and when. This feature is valuable in coding because it helps prevent the possibility of coders accidentally overwriting each other’s work. Neither are there any misunderstandings about which file version is the most recent.
- Using Automated Build Tools
Based on the name, you can guess what automated build tools are. First, they automate some codebase building for you. Developers frequently rely on automated build tools to expedite the process of generating lengthy sections of code. This is a massive time-saver compared to writing all the code by hand. These tools are a must-have for serious professionals who need to get a substantial amount of work done while keeping to a realistic and reasonable timeline.
- Using Automatic Code Documenters
Code documentation is the creation and maintenance of documents that explain computer programs/codes. These documents allow outside developers to rapidly get up to speed on what someone else’s code does and how to use it. For example, human code documenters who write and update such descriptions by hand can complete this process, or you can use automatic code documenters. Automatic code documenters are another example of software tools that dramatically simplify coding since they handle a critical function effortlessly in the background.
To refactor an existing code is to improve upon its design. When you refactor, you might make your code more efficient, tweak its function, or make it more understandable. The best developers make a habit of refactoring. It is like pruning and weeding a garden; if you do not refactor, you are not keeping your code healthy. Anything and everything can be refactored, including your methods, architecture, names of variables, functions, and number of arguments. This process is also applicable to nearly every situation and programming language.
Because refactoring is essentially all about improvement, how you go about it is very individualized. However, there are some general best practices in the industry that you can follow.
Here are a few examples:
- Split functions or methods over 20-25 lines into smaller sections. If they are any longer than that, you have likely included too much logic.
- Rethink the name or entire function/method if the name is composed of more than 20 characters
- Too many nested loops equal resource-intensive processing and should be avoided. However, you should never nest more than two loops, and you should rethink your logic if you find yourself doing that.
Whether coding is your profession or you are still learning, you do not want to miss out on the many productive tricks of the trade. Hopefully, one or more methods listed here can help you up to your game. Even if these tools/practices are old news to you, there is an endless supply of others. Thus, it is best to always watch for ways to better your coding.