Designing a well-crafted and easily manageable software system is the ultimate goal of any professional developer. Therefore, we need the best windows development tool and coding practices to achieve this goal. Clean coding is one such core practice that can help us in our mission. However, unfortunately, many new developers are not even aware of clean coding. So, let us briefly discuss clean coding methods and their relationship to the best windows development tool, Delphi.
What is clean code?
By definition, clean code is well crafted, easy to understand, and easy to change because change is inevitable in any usable software. To change a software system, we need to understand it. If the code is poorly written and messy, it would not be cost-effective to change it. On the other hand, if code follows a well-thought structure, is well organized, and is easily understandable, it is clean code.
What are the basic concepts of clean code windows development?
Clean coding is a discipline in itself now. Here is a brief overview of some basic concepts of clean coding.
Why is code duplication bad?
Clean code does not repeat itself because code duplication generates many problems, from bug fixing to updating and maintenance.
What is the “boy scout” rule?
Always leave the code in a better state than you found it. If you always check out with a little bit better code, then the quality and clarity of your codebase will increase over time. On the other hand, if you do not follow this rule, the code will rote over time, and it will be a nightmare to maintain.
Do you have empathy?
Show that you care about the person who will read your code. For example, I once saw that the previous electrician marked a wire with a sticker in electrical wiring. It was a good help for the new electrician to understand and repair the circuit. Both of us were thankful for this act of kindness of the previous electrician.
Why is naming so important?
A code is full of variables, constants, methods, arguments, classes, directories, etc. If a developer takes some time and care in naming these entities, it will drastically increase the readability of the code. There will not be a need for many comments to explain these variables. Choose a name that clearly describes their purpose, functionality, and usage when naming your entities.
What is the Single Responsibility Principle (SRP)?
If a function or class does more than one thing, you have not designed it well. On the other hand, making an entity do only one thing well improves its readability, usability, and changeability.
How many function parameters are ideal?
Single parameter functions and procedures are ideal. However, you can increase this limit by up to three parameters. You should pass an object instead of many parameters for anything above that. This arrangement will improve readability, and it is easier to change if necessary.
Are you directly using numbers and strings?
If a code uses a value like ’33’ or ‘m’ in assignments, it is challenging to guess its purpose. Therefore, you should name these as constants and then use those constants in all assignments. With this arrangement, if you need to change it in the future, you can easily do it in one place only. In addition, improved readability will be a blessing for future code maintainers.
Comments might signal a fundamental problem with the code, readability. In addition, when updating code, many developers ignore updating comments. Thus, over time, they might be misleading instead of helpful. So strive for reducing comments and try to embed their clarity in the code itself. Of course, you still might need comments for copyright purposes or describing third-party API usage, but your code should have as few comments as possible and still be very readable.
It is common to hide a code by commenting it out, but this is not nice for readability. It will confuse your reader about its presence. It is okay to do it temporarily, but you should delete this code before checking out.
Are you writing for humans?
Many programming classes and tests try to stretch students to their limits, forcing them to write clever code (A code that only a writer can understand). This style is against the practice of clean coding. Instead, always strive to write code for humans and not for machines. Clean code will help a maintainer down the road, and this person might be you.
Are you testing enough?
It is easy to think of a code as usable if it works in a particular situation. However, will it work in all possible scenarios? We cannot be sure without thoroughly testing it. Test-driven development (TDD) means to write a test first and then write code to satisfy those tests. Writing testable code also forces us to write clean code. Unit testing is also necessary for refactoring because we cannot change the code without a suite of tests and still be sure about its working.
Are you formatting the code well?
Pick a style and convention of formatting for you and your team, and then strictly follow that style. Proper formatting will make the code look more beautiful, readable, and homogeneous and communicate code well.
What is the length of your methods?
The length of the procedures and functions should be minimal. It is a byproduct of the single responsibility principle. If you do only one thing in code, most methods would be short automatically. In addition, when coupled with naming well, this code will read like well-written prose. This rule also applies to classes.
Do you want to learn more?
The above text is only a brief introduction to some key concepts of clean coding. To improve your knowledge, you can read many good books available on clean coding and refactoring techniques like:
- Clean Code: A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship by Robert C. Martin (Uncle Bob)
- The Clean Coder: A Code of Conduct for Professional Programmers by Robert C. Martin (Uncle Bob)
- Refactoring: Improving the Design of Existing Code by Martin Fowler
What capabilities does Delphi provide for clean coding?
Lead by Example
Delphi itself is an excellent example of clean code windows development. Delphi source code is available for everyone to see. As a result, it is the single source of truth and inspiration for many software companies and component developers.
Unit Testing Features
DUnit & DUnitX are an automated unit-testing framework for Delphi, making code testing fast and straightforward.
Built-in code formatting
Delphi code formatting features are excellent, and you can make it automatic.
Delphi helps clean naming by providing many examples and possibilities with its excellent namespace architecture.
Excellent Refactoring Support
Delphi has excellent refactoring support that you can use to clean and improve your legacy code.
Delphi IDE is not only an ideal environment for rapid multi-platform native development, but it also helps developers write clean code fast.
Version Control Support
Built-in version control support for many popular systems makes coding more accessible. With this support, a developer can remove many comments like comments of logging nature and focus on writing better code.
Object Pascal by design is an immaculate, eminently teachable, language, making Delphi one of the best development tools for clean coding.
Are you ready for clean code windows development?
Your journey can be fun and hassle-free if you use the right tool and techniques. To kick-start your practical clean code windows development journey, download Delphi 11 Alexandria free now!