system quality aspect characterizing the ease of software maintenance

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190
votes
17answers
20k views

How would you know if you've written readable and easily maintainable code?

How would one know if the code one has created is easily readable, understandable, and maintainable? Of course from the author's point of view the code is readable and maintainable, because the author ...
138
votes
18answers
10k views

How to keep a big and complex software product maintainable over the years?

I have been working as a software developer for many years now. It has been my experience that projects get more complex and unmaintainable as more developers get involved in the development of the ...
74
votes
19answers
6k views

Is it ok to replace optimized code with readable code?

Sometimes you run into a situation where you have to extend/improve some existing code. You see that the old code is very lean, but it's also difficult to extend, and takes time to read. Is it a good ...
67
votes
17answers
16k views

Coding Guideline : Methods shouldn't contain more than 7 statements?

I was looking through the AvSol Coding Guidelines for C# and I agree with nearly everything but I'm really curious to see what other think of one specific rule. AV1500 Methods should not ...
67
votes
17answers
5k views

What hurts maintainability? [duplicate]

For someone who doesn't have much real world experience yet, the notion of maintainable code is a bit vague, even though it follows from typical good practice rules. Intuitively I can tell that code ...
53
votes
9answers
7k views

Clean readable code vs fast hard to read code. When to cross the line?

When I write code I always try to make my code as clean and readable as possible. Every now and then there comes a time when you need to cross the line and go from nice clean code to slightly uglier ...
49
votes
11answers
16k views

What characteristics or features make code maintainable? [duplicate]

I used to think I knew what this was, until I really started thinking about it... "maintainable"... what exactly makes code maintainable? To me, if code must be maintainable that means we can expect ...
33
votes
10answers
6k views

Are flag variables an absolute evil?

Are flag variables evil? Are the following kind of variables profoundly immoral and is it wicked to use them? "boolean or integer variables that you assign a value in certain places then down ...
28
votes
10answers
4k views

Is template “metaprogramming” in Java a good idea?

There is a source file in a rather large project with several functions that are extremely performance-sensitive (called millions of times per second). In fact, the previous maintainer decided to ...
26
votes
11answers
2k views

Maintenance wise, is `else while` without intervening braces considered safe?

Is else while without intervening braces considered "safe" maintenance wise? Writing if-else code without braces like below... if (blah) foo(); else bar(); ...carries a risk because the ...
26
votes
10answers
2k views

Eliminating Magic Numbers: When is it time to say “No”?

We're all aware that magic numbers (hard-coded values) can wreak havoc in your program, especially when it's time to modify a section of code that has no comments, but where do you draw the line? ...
23
votes
13answers
4k views

Why do so many developers believe performance, readability, and maintainability cannot coexist?

While responding to this question, I began to wonder why so many developers believe a good design should not account for performance because doing so would affect readability and/or maintainability. ...
20
votes
4answers
2k views

“Too object-oriented”

I come from a strong OO background, and I have recently started working in an organization which, although the code is written in Java, has a lot less emphasis on good OO design than what I am used ...
20
votes
4answers
479 views

What are the ways to avoid duplication of logic between domain classes and SQL queries?

The example below is totally artificial and its only purpose is to get my point across. Suppose I have an SQL table: CREATE TABLE rectangles ( width int, height int ); Domain class: public ...
19
votes
5answers
1k views

Fighting technical debt as the “lowest developer”?

Let's say you work for a company and what you do is develop software for them. You have no idea of the big picture or maybe slight. What you do have are tasks assigned to you via issue tracking ...
18
votes
11answers
5k views

How does one meaningfully measure maintainability?

Context: I'm an enterprise developer in an all-MS shop. Can anyone recommend a good way of objectively measuring maintainability of a piece of code or an application? Why maintainability: I'm tired ...
18
votes
7answers
840 views

How to improve the training of students regarding maintainability? [closed]

Maintainability is a major stake of professional software development. Indeed, maintenance is nearly always the longest part of a software life cycle, as it lasts from the project release until ...
17
votes
4answers
832 views

What should plugins use: hooks, events or something else?

Consider an app that allows plugins to react to its program flow. I know 2 ways to achieve this: hooks and events 1. Hooks Use calls to empty functions inside the main program flow. These functions ...
16
votes
4answers
603 views

How to write maintainable, not brittle, unit tests for a GUI?

I tried writing UI unit tests for my GUI apps and I face the problem that, while they work well when I initially write them, they turn out to be brittle and they break whenever the design changes ...
14
votes
3answers
401 views

Does usage of advanced language features decrease maintainability? [duplicate]

On a code review, I've stumbled on an interesting idea, which I can't properly judge alone. Is it OK to improve readability of code by means of not widely known language syntax? When the original ...
13
votes
6answers
5k views

Is it necessary to write a javadoc comment for EVERY parameter in a method's signature?

One of the devs on my team believes that it is necessary to write a javadoc comment for EVERY parameter in a method's signature. I do not think this is necessary, and in fact I think it can even be ...
13
votes
7answers
3k views

How to refactor code to some common code?

Background I'm working on an ongoing C# project. I'm not a C# programmer, primarily a C++ programmer. So I was assigned basically easy and refactoring tasks. The code is a mess. It's a huge project. ...
12
votes
12answers
13k views

How would you refactor nested IF Statements? [duplicate]

I was cruising around the programming blogosphere when I happened upon this post about GOTO's: http://giuliozambon.blogspot.com/2010/12/programmers-tabu.html Here the writer talks about how "one ...
12
votes
6answers
10k views

Automatic source code generation — good idea or potential nightmare? [duplicate]

In response to my question regarding Java source code generation, I received this answer warning me about potential maintenance problems: mixing auto-generated code always pose a risk of ...
12
votes
5answers
579 views

Do high standards necessarily lead to frustration, and how to deal with it?

I consider myself a programming language enthusiast. When I find bad code, especially my own, it is hard to understand, hard to change, and hard to test. My coworkers don't know better, or don't ...
11
votes
6answers
1k views

Best practice boolean assignment [closed]

I came across the following conditional in a program that I have taken over from another developer: if (obj.Performance <= LOW_PERFORMANCE) { obj.NeedsChange = true; } else { ...
11
votes
3answers
671 views

What to do when your colleagues don't value code maintainability [duplicate]

I've been working in the same software development department for a few years now. In that time, the average stay of a developer has been 6-9 months. A handful have been around for over 2 years, but ...
10
votes
10answers
512 views

How to communicate with a co-worker that considers frameworks a performance hit

How can one sell an idea like "we should use jQuery because its highly optimized and cross browser compatible" or "entity framework is cool because its neat and takes care of our model automagically" ...
10
votes
6answers
948 views

Which is more maintainable — boolean assignment via if/else or boolean expression?

Which would be considered more maintainable? if (a == b) c = true; else c = false; or c = (a == b); I've tried looking in Code Complete, but can't find an answer. I think the first is more ...
10
votes
5answers
926 views

Should you refactor existing code that is not broken in a project focused on new features?

Given a small project that aims to add new functionality to application, the changes introduced touch some existing code, involving updating these in certain areas. During implementation, I've found ...
9
votes
2answers
450 views

Programming paradigms and the maintenance developer [closed]

I was reading, Facts and Fallacies of Software Engineering, which has a section of maintenance. Since, I'm have been a maintenance developer for years now, I was very interesting facts presented. ...
9
votes
1answer
388 views

Are there any empirical studies about the effects of commenting source code on software quality, maintainability and developer productivity? [closed]

I am an advocate of commenting on source code and documenting software products. It is my personal experience and observation that working on source code that is rigorously commented has helped me in ...
9
votes
1answer
596 views

Futures/Monads vs Events

In an application framework when performance impact can be ignored (10-20 events per second at max), what is more maintainable and flexible to use as a preferred medium for communication between ...
8
votes
1answer
439 views

Refactoring a 1500 LOC method that only builds the graphical UI [closed]

I'm currently scratching my head over how to refactor a method that basically only builds the UI. The method is more than 1500 lines of code (LOC) long - and counting. It has grown, there was no plan ...
8
votes
6answers
2k views

What to do when you inherit an unmaintainable codebase? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Techniques to re-factor garbage and maintain sanity? I've inherited 200K lines of spaghetti code — what now? I'm currently working at a company with 2 other ...
8
votes
2answers
3k views

How is technical debt best measured? What metric(s) are most useful? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How can I quantify the amount of technical debt that exists in a project? If I wanted to help a customer understand the degree of technical debt in his application, what ...
7
votes
7answers
841 views

What are some ways to maintain codebases written in two languages that implement the same logic?

I have a logic intensive algorithm that I need to code in two languages (actually I finished it in one language satisfactorily and am about to start coding in the other language). By logic intensive ...
7
votes
8answers
623 views

What can I use to keep track of the status of 60 software projects, some of which are obsolete? [closed]

I've taken a software development role in an engineering company(all software developed is for internal use only). The company has about 60 individual projects from past developers. The problem is ...
7
votes
3answers
2k views

Does it make sense to compute cyclomatic complexity/lines of code ratio?

In general, maintainability index relies on many factors. For example, in Visual Studio, it rely on cyclomatic complexity, depth of inheritance, class coupling and lines of code; those four values ...
6
votes
4answers
432 views

Should large or old codebases be expected to be easy to navigate?

I'm an Undergraduate Computer Science Student currently on a placement year at a company that produces and supports a large enterprise web application. I'm loving the experience of seeing how software ...
6
votes
4answers
611 views

What should I include in my repositiory from IDE projects

I want to add a project which in this case is created in Netbeans but this question is general for most IDE's. It's simply, what should I include in my repository. For example Netbeans creates a ...
6
votes
1answer
200 views

What is the best way to approach visualization projects?

I work on several areas related to information visualization, linked data, computer vision and other stuff, so mainly front-end. I am not really happy with the fact that visualizations take lots of ...
6
votes
1answer
170 views

How do you organize API endpoint contracts

Where trying to improve the "confidence" we have in our inter-service communication. Background: "Contracts" has been a matter of sharing a piece of code that defines an interface to implement, but ...
5
votes
7answers
520 views

Scrum decision making versus maintainability and development time? [closed]

I appreciate that this question may be controversial. In a sense, it is the flip-side of the question "Business trying to make technical decisions". In Scrum, the development team is supposed to be ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

Using lookahead assertions in regular expressions

I use regular expressions on a daily basis, as my daily work is 90% in Perl (legacy codebase, but that's a different issue). Despite this, I still find lookahead and lookbehind to be terribly ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

Creating huge decision tree

I'm to write an event correlator. A fundamental part of the system will be a decision tree that recognizes the origin of the fault basing on recorded states and log files. Often many accidents will ...
5
votes
2answers
618 views

How to have a maintainable and manageable Javascript code base [closed]

I am starting a new job soon as a frontend developer. The App I would be working on is 100% Javascript on the client side. all the server returns is an index page that loads all the Javascript files ...
5
votes
3answers
845 views

Starting on a large project, should I split it into more concise parts?

Background: Currently an intern at a company and working on repurposing older programs (still in use, but for different departments) for use in testing new hardware. The new hardware is different in ...
5
votes
2answers
247 views

Can decoupling hurt maintainability in certain situations?

Can the fact that the business logic is mapped to interfaces instead of implementations actually hinder the maintenance of the application in certain situations? A naive example with the Java's ...
5
votes
3answers
480 views

Filesystem like permissions for C++ type-members

Abstract (tl;dr) Please read the full question, this is awfully simplified: How can unix file permission style restrictions be applied to inter-type data/control flows, allowing fine-grained access ...