201
votes
17answers
23k 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 ...
471
votes
19answers
143k views

I've inherited 200K lines of spaghetti code — what now?

I hope this isn't too general of a question; I could really use some seasoned advice. I am newly employed as the sole "SW Engineer" in a fairly small shop of scientists who have spent the last 10-20 ...
145
votes
31answers
54k views

How do you dive into large code bases?

What tools and techniques do you use for exploring and learning an unknown code base? I am thinking of tools like grep, ctags, unit-tests, functional test, class-diagram generators, call graphs, ...
2189
votes
1answer
394k views

What technical details should a programmer of a web application consider before making the site public?

What things should a programmer implementing the technical details of a web application consider before making the site public? If Jeff Atwood can forget about HttpOnly cookies, sitemaps, and cross-...
118
votes
16answers
9k views

How can I convince management to deal with technical debt?

This is a question that I often ask myself when working with developers. I've worked at four companies so far and I've become aware of a lack of attention to keeping code clean and dealing with ...
23
votes
3answers
3k views

Approaches to checking multiple conditions? [duplicate]

What is the best practice for checking multiple conditions, in no particular order? The example in question needs to check four distinct conditions, in any order, and fail showing the correct error ...
100
votes
34answers
28k views

“Comments are a code smell” [closed]

A coworker of mine believes that any use of in-code comments (ie, not javadoc style method or class comments) is a code smell. What do you think?
98
votes
8answers
8k views

What is the most effective way to add functionality to unfamiliar, structurally unsound code? [duplicate]

This is probably something everyone has to face during the development sooner or later. You have an existing code written by someone else, and you have to extend it to work under new requirements. ...
64
votes
12answers
17k views

To branch or not to branch?

Till recently my development workflow was the following: Get the feature from product owner Make a branch (if feature is more than 1 day) Implement it in a branch Merge changes from main branch to ...
193
votes
17answers
49k views

Why is Global State so Evil?

Before we start this, let me say I'm well aware of the concepts of Abstraction and Dependency Injection. I don't need my eyes opened here. Well, most of us say, (too) many times without really ...
208
votes
25answers
28k views

When is a BIG Rewrite the answer?

Just read the question about the Big Rewrites and I remembered a question that I've been wanting answered myself. I have a horrible project passed down to me, written in old Java, using Struts 1.0, ...
97
votes
16answers
8k views

How can I tactfully suggest improvements to others' badly designed code during review? [closed]

I'm a great believer in clean code and code craftsmanship, though I'm currently at a job where this isn't regarded as a top priority. I sometimes find myself in a situation where a peer's code is ...
127
votes
16answers
83k views

When are Getters and Setters Justified

Getters and setters are often criticized as being not proper OO. On the other hand most OO code I've seen has extensive getters and setters. When are getters and setters justified? Do you try to ...
13
votes
3answers
2k views

What is O(…) and how do I calculate it?

Help! I have a question where I need to analyze the Big-O of an algorithm or some code. I am unsure exactly what Big-O is or how it relates to Big-Theta or other means of analyzing an algorithm's ...
14
votes
3answers
2k views

Style for control flow with validation checks

I find myself writing a lot of code like this: int myFunction(Person* person) { int personIsValid = !(person==NULL); if (personIsValid) { // do some stuff; might be lengthy int myresult ...
69
votes
2answers
9k views

Are there any OO-principles that are practically applicable for Javascript?

Javascript is a prototype-based object oriented language but can become class-based in a variety of ways, either by: Writing the functions to be used as classes by yourself Use a nifty class system ...
120
votes
4answers
103k views

Can I use GPL software in a commercial application

I have 3 questions about the GPL here: If I use GPL software in my application, but don't modify or distribute it, do I have to release my application under the GPL? What if I modify some software ...
136
votes
31answers
15k views

Is micro-optimisation important when coding?

I recently asked a question on Stack Overflow to find out why isset() was faster than strlen() in PHP. This raised questions around the importance of readable code and whether performance improvements ...
34
votes
12answers
7k views

Dealing with bad/incomplete/unclear specifications? [duplicate]

I'm working on a project where our dev team gets the specifications from the business part of the company. Both the business management and the IT management require estimates and deadline projections,...
40
votes
8answers
8k views

What is the “default” software license?

If I release some code and binaries, but I don't include any license at all with it, what are the legal terms that apply by default (in the US, where I am). I know that I automatically have copyright ...
140
votes
5answers
55k views

Choosing between Single or multiple projects in a git repository?

In a git environment, where we have modularized most projects, we're facing the one project per repository or multiple projects per repository design issue. Let's consider a modularized project: ...
133
votes
13answers
34k views

Is it OK to split long functions and methods into smaller ones even though they won't be called by anything else? [duplicate]

Lately I've been trying to split long methods into several short ones. For example: I have a process_url() function which splits URLs into components and then assigns them to some objects via their ...
85
votes
4answers
19k views

What is an Anti-Corruption layer, and how is it used?

I'm trying to figure out what the Anti-Corruption layer really means. I know that it's a way to transition/work around legacy code or bad APIs. What I don't understand is how it works and what makes ...
399
votes
15answers
117k views

How to respond when you are asked for an estimate?

We, as programmers, are constantly being asked 'How long will it take'? And you know, the situation is almost always like this: The requirements are unclear. Nobody has done an in depth analysis of ...
47
votes
12answers
4k views

Develop fast and buggy, then correct errors or be slow, careful for each line of code? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicates: Frankly, do you prefer Cowboy coding? Prototyping vs. Clean Code at the early stages Good design: How much hackyness is acceptable? Does craftsmanship pay off? Which ...
871
votes
11answers
322k views

Which hashing algorithm is best for uniqueness and speed?

Which hashing algorithm is best for uniqueness and speed? Example (good) uses include hash dictionaries. I know there are things like SHA-256 and such, but these algorithms are designed to be secure,...
83
votes
10answers
10k views

Are design patterns really essential nowadays?

I was reading "Coders at Work" and have faced the fact that some of the professionals interviewed in the book are not so enthusiastic about design patterns. I think that there are 2 main reasons for ...
42
votes
7answers
7k views

How do you encode Algebraic Data Types in a C#- or Java-like language?

There are some problems which are easily solved by Algebraic Data Types, for example a List type can be very succinctly expressed as: data ConsList a = Empty | ConsCell a (ConsList a) consmap f ...
14
votes
3answers
3k views

How to tackle a 'branched' arrow head anti-pattern? [duplicate]

I recently read this question that features, the arrow anti-pattern. I have something similar in code I'm trying to refactor except that it branches. It looks a little something like this: if(...
1
vote
2answers
424 views

How should I test the functionality of a function that uses other functions in it? [duplicate]

Suppose there is a function get-data which returns a map of information about the id of the user passed in. now this function uses 3 functions source-a, source-b and source-c to get three different ...
94
votes
108answers
122k views

Do people in non-English-speaking countries code in English? [closed]

I've heard it said (by coworkers) that everyone "codes in English" regardless of where they're from. I find that difficult to believe, however I wouldn't be surprised if, for most programming ...
53
votes
9answers
7k views

Should a developer also act as a tester? [closed]

We're a scrum team of 3 developers, 1 designer, the scrum master, and the product owner. However, we don't have official tester in our team. A problem that is always with us, is that, testing the ...
35
votes
11answers
2k views

Techniques to re-factor garbage and maintain sanity? [duplicate]

So I'm sitting down to a nice bowl of c# spaghetti, and need to add something or remove something... but I have challenges everywhere from functions passing arguments that doesn't make sense, someone ...
107
votes
14answers
29k views

Where does this concept of “favor composition over inheritance” come from?

In the last few months, the mantra "favor composition over inheritance" seems to have sprung up out of nowhere and become almost some sort of meme within the programming community. And every time I ...
121
votes
16answers
5k views

Does craftsmanship pay off? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicates: Prototyping vs. Clean Code at the early stages Frankly, do you prefer Cowboy coding? After working in a number of companies, I am starting to realize that my commitment ...
35
votes
8answers
4k views

What is the real responsibility of a class?

I keep wondering if it is legitimate to use verbs that are based on nouns in OOP. I came across this brilliant article, though I still disagree with the point it makes. To explain the problem a bit ...
17
votes
2answers
988 views

How to manage and estimate unstructured requirements received from customers

A lot of the times during the bidding phase of a project I receive a software system's requirements from our potential customers in a very unstructured format from various sources [email, word ...
167
votes
1answer
160k views

Where can I find programming puzzles and challenges? [closed]

I'm trying to find places where I can hone my craft outside the context of school or work. Are there places online, or books available, where I can access lists of programming puzzles or challenges?
114
votes
23answers
17k views

Elegant ways to handle if(if else) else

This is a minor niggle, but every time I have to code something like this, the repetition bothers me, but I'm not sure that any of the solutions aren't worse. if(FileExists(file)) { contents = ...
50
votes
5answers
5k views

When is Singleton appropriate? [closed]

Some hold that the Singleton Pattern is always an anti-pattern. What do you think?
12
votes
4answers
1k views

Staying OO and Testable while working with a database

What are some OOP strategies for working with a database but keeping things unit testable? Say I have a User class and my production environment works against MySQL. I see a couple possible approaches,...
363
votes
29answers
57k views

Why can't the IT industry deliver large, faultless projects quickly as in other industries?

After watching National Geographic's MegaStructures series, I was surprised how fast large projects are completed. Once the preliminary work (design, specifications, etc.) is done on paper, the ...
76
votes
19answers
28k views

How do I improve my coding skills? [closed]

Here's a bit information about me, before starting with the question. I am a Computer Science Undergraduate, Java being my primary coding language. The basic problem in my University are the ...
65
votes
8answers
15k views

Defensive Programming vs Exception Handling?

I'm working through the book "Head First Python" (it's my language to learn this year) and I got to a section where they argue about two code techniques: Defensive coding vs Exception handling. Here ...
59
votes
36answers
5k views

What can I do to get better at estimating how long projects are going to take? [duplicate]

I don't want to make life hard for management. I really don't. They're nice enough guys, but every time I am assigned a new project or task and get asked "how long do you think it will take to do ...
21
votes
7answers
4k views

How to determine if a class meets the single responsibility principle?

The Single Responsibility Principle is based on the high cohesion principle. The difference between the two is that a highly cohesive classes features a set of responsibilities that are strongly ...
18
votes
7answers
2k views

Rule of thumb for cost vs. savings for code re-use [duplicate]

Is it a good rule of thumb to always write code for the intent of re-using it somewhere down the road? Or, depending on the size of the component you are writing, is it better practice to design it ...
14
votes
4answers
2k views

How to stop gold-plating and just be content to release working developments [closed]

The development team that I'm a member of has recently adapted to work according to Agile practices. This has personally highlighted the fact that I can't stop myself gold-plating code (and ...
731
votes
7answers
99k views

Where did the notion of “one return only” come from?

I often talk to programmers who say "Don't put multiple return statements in the same method." When I ask them to tell me the reasons why, all I get is "The coding standard says so." or "It's ...
623
votes
29answers
117k views

My boss decided to add a “person to blame” field to every bug report. How can I convince him that it's a bad idea?

In one of the latest "WTF" moves, my boss decided that adding a "Person To Blame" field to our bug tracking template will increase accountability (although we already have a way of tying bugs to ...

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