Best Practices For Writing Readable Code

Best Practices For Writing Readable Code
Photo by Mahmud Ahsan / Unsplash

Code is written ones but read multiple times

There are several reasons why it is important to write readable code:

  • Ease of maintenance: Code that is easy to read and understand is much easier to modify and maintain than code that is difficult to comprehend. This is especially important when working on a team where multiple people may need to modify the same codebase.

  • Fewer bugs: Code that is easy to read and understand is less likely to contain errors, as it is easier to spot mistakes when reading clear and concise code.

  • Better documentation: Code that is easy to read and understand can serve as its own form of documentation, making it easier for others (including future you) to understand what the code is doing and how it works.

  • Greater productivity: When developers can easily read and understand code, they are able to work more efficiently and get more done in less time.

  • Better collaboration: Code that is easy to read and understand can be more easily shared and discussed with others, which is important when working in a team environment.

How To Write Readable Code?

  • Use clear and descriptive names for variables, functions, and other identifiers. This makes it easier to understand what the code is doing at a glance.

  • Use whitespace and indentation consistently to improve the readability of your code.

  • Use comments to explain what your code is doing and why. However, avoid over-commenting, as this can make the code harder to read.

  • Break up your code into smaller, more manageable chunks using functions and other control structures.

  • Follow a consistent style guide to ensure that your code is easy to read and follows best practices for your programming language.

  • Avoid using abbreviations or acronyms that may not be familiar to others reading your code.

  • Test your code to ensure that it is correct and free of errors

  • Keep lines of code short and concise. This makes it easier to scan through the code and understand what it is doing.

  • Avoid using unnecessary or redundant code. Remove any code that is not necessary for the functionality of your program

  • A function should only do one thing only

  • If you can't explain a class in one line. You are probably doing it wrong.

Tools To Help You Write Readable Code

  • Prettier is a code formatter that automatically reformats code to follow a consistent style. It can format code written in a variety of programming languages and helps to ensure that code is easy to read and follow a consistent style. Prettier can be run from the command line or integrated into a variety of code editors and IDEs

  • A linter is a tool that analyzes code to flag potential issues or errors. Linters are often used to enforce a consistent style in code, such as following a specific set of formatting rules or naming conventions. They can help to identify problems in code that may not be immediately apparent, such as syntax errors or code that may not behave as expected. Many linters can be configured to check for a wide range of issues, and some even include options for automatic fixing of certain types of problems. Eg: EsLint, PyLint

  • Use GitHub Copilot to write readable code. This will get you in practice to write comments as the AI write correctly formatted code for you 😅