A development approach called "clean code" puts the reader first and results in software that is simple to build, read, and maintain. Software engineers must possess the ability to write clean code. When the program performs as planned, you may be tempted to think of your effort as finished. However, we're not only creating code for computer use.

To write clean code, you must keep in mind that your target audience consists of human beings, not just other computers. Keeping this in mind, let's go through some of the reasons why writing clean code is so important, as well as some practical advice for doing so.

What is Clean Code?

"Clean" coding is simple to read and edit. When writing clean code, you take into account how future users will be able to comprehend and utilize it. You make it simpler for people to alter your code in the future by describing its functionality.

Source code written in accordance with clean code principles is highly modular and hence easier to comprehend and test. If these guidelines were a house, clean code would be in the basement. When it comes time to restructure code or bring it under test, having the ability to implement clean code principles is invaluable.

Principles of Clean Code

When writing clean code, it is crucial to keep in mind the core principles of clean code. There are three basic principles to be vigilant about:

  1. Always choose the right tool for the job.
  2. Optimize the signal-to-noise ratio.
  3. Strive to write self-documenting code.

Steps involved in writing Clean Code

To ensure that your code comes out clean. Here are a few steps that you should follow.

  • Follow conventions

In order to get started, it's helpful to have a naming convention that makes it obvious what you're dealing with.

In programming, a naming convention is an agreement that you will use only specific types of names for your variables. It gets ugly, and there's often no consensus on the best course of action. So, to try keeping it simple.

For example;

 

int iMyInteger = 10;
 
float fMyFloat = 10.5f;

 

  • Indicate variable scope

Next, it's important to use a convention to specify the scope of variables, which is a natural progression from utilizing naming conventions. Again, there are no hard and fast rules; instead, it's up to you to choose what works best for your code and stick to it consistently.

A common example is like;

 

//private and protected variables are prefixed with an underscore
int _iWindowSize = 900;
//public variables are left as they would be normally
int iWindowSize = 900;
//constant values are in all caps and separated with underscores
int I_WINDOW_SIZE = 900;

 

  • Say what you mean

This is one of the simplest things to remember, but it's also the one that happens the most frequently and could be the one you forget the most easily. Seeing a variable with a name that is unclear, or even worse, naming it with a single letter, is without a doubt the most unpleasant thing for another developer to experience when looking at your code.

  • White space is nice space

The utilization of whitespace can be quite effective and, in most cases, does not present any kind of drawback. In programming languages such as JavaScript, where the size of the source code file itself is crucial, you may want your files to be as tiny as possible. However, whitespace can add a few extra kilobytes to the total size of the file. During the development process, try to preserve as much whitespace as possible so that the code is easier to understand. Then, immediately before you submit it, use any one of the numerous clever little tools that will run through the code and remove all of the whitespace.

  • Commenting- an invaluable addition

The addition of comments to your code can be extremely beneficial because they can immediately clarify what a complicated function is doing or demonstrate how specific operations should be performed in sequence. However, comments can help others understand the challenges you were trying to solve and how your code addresses them. This is in addition to the goal of the code itself being explained, which is why comments are important. It is important to keep in mind that excessive commenting can occasionally have a negative effect by creating code that is more cluttered.

  • Save time and space by automating

Writing code that is only marginally more technical does not automatically render it less readable. Not only is it more difficult to comprehend multiple lines of duplicate code, but it also increases the likelihood that an error will occur. The beauty of programming is that it allows even the most complex commands to be expressed in a form that is clear, reusable, and ingenious.

Shown below is a better, cleaned up approach:

 

boxArray = [box1, box2, box3, box4];
for(int i = 0; i < sizeOf(boxArray); i++)
{
     boxArray[i].x = 10 + i * 20;
     boxArray[i].y = 20;
}

 

  • Remember the power of i

In a programming block containing consecutive loops, numerous iterator variables are required. The question of whether to employ it is never settled, and the right choice depends on a number of factors; nonetheless, when they follow immediately upon one another, declaring and reusing your iterator makes the most sense. Since it's always obvious that "i" is your iterator variable, this not only looks better but also runs somewhat faster.

Let's have a look at an illustration of what this means:

 

//declare variable initially
int i ;
for(i = 0; i<10; i++)
{
    //loop stuff
}
for(i = 0; i<200; i++)
{
   //more loop stuff
}

 

  • Put similar variables together

As the scale of your projects increases, so too will the number of moving parts in your classes. At the outset, you should group your variable declarations together or put them at the top of the page to facilitate searching.

Second, even though they are in one place, they can be arranged in a way that is more intuitive. One useful strategy is to classify them according to their nature. It's likely that you'll have multiples of the same thing; store them in groups, and consider adding a subcategory for "other" items.

  • Keep it functional

Long function declarations are a quick way to make your code unreadable. In most cases, seeing the actions themselves is the best course of action. If a function's actual purpose is different from what its name implies, it may be possible to extract part of the unused functionality into a new function.

  • Keep it classy

Similarly to the functional dilemma, it may be preferable to construct a new class to manage the huge amount of functionality that is now stored in a single location.

The techniques mentioned above are not hard and fast guidelines; you can use them as-is or they can help you design your own unique approach to writing and maintaining clean code. It's crucial that everything be kept neat, well-divided, and consistent. Anyone who uses your code will be grateful for your efforts and may even pick up some tips.

Benefits of Clean Code

 

  • Collaboration

Writing clean code facilitates teamwork. It's easier for numerous engineers to collaborate on the same codebase when the code is well organized and structured. As a result, developers may be more inclined to collaborate on projects.

  • Efficiency

Efficiency increases when the code is clean. Better performance and less memory consumption are two benefits of well-organized and structured code. This is a great technique to improve a system's  overall performance.

  • Scalability

Code that is well-structured and well-organized is easier to extend and modify to meet the needs of new features or requirements. This can help make sure that the code base can adjust to new requirements as they arise.

  • Debugging

Code that has been well cleaned makes fixing bugs a lot less of a hassle. Code that is well organized and structured makes it simpler to track down and correct errors and defects. The time and energy spent tracking down and fixing code bugs may be reduced as a result.

  • Readability

Reading and understanding the code makes it easier to make changes, find bugs, and add new features. Code that has been properly structured and organized makes it easier for other developers to access and use.

  • Maintainability

Maintainability is much improved with clean code. Clean, well-structured code makes it simpler to make modifications or solve defects without adding new issues. This can help keep code from becoming obsolete and save time in the long run.

  • Reusability

More people can benefit from your work if you keep your code clean. Code that has been well organized and structured can be reused across projects or even within the same project. This can be helpful because it prevents having to completely rebuild the code.

Tips for writing Clean Code effectively

 

1. Use meaningful variable names

It is important to give meaningful names to variables that are also descriptive of the data they hold. Because of this, the code is much simpler to read and comprehend.

2. Use comments sparingly

Only use comments when absolutely required, and make sure they are understandable and to the point. An excessive number of comments might cause the code to become unorganized and difficult to read.

3. Use consistent formatting

Maintaining a format that is consistent across the code makes it simpler to read and comprehend. This involves maintaining the same indentation, spacing, and braces throughout the document.

4. Keep methods small and focused

The methods that are employed should be concise and streamlined, with a single point of responsibility. The code is simplified as a result, making it easier to comprehend and alter.

5. Method names should be meaningful

Method names ought to convey a sense of meaning and should be descriptive of the work that the method conducts. Because of this, the code is much simpler to read and comprehend.

6. Use meaningful class names

It's important that class names have some sort of significance and convey an idea about what the class accomplishes. The code can now be read and comprehended with much less effort.

7. Use of polymorphism and inheritance

Inheritance and polymorphism are two programming techniques that can make code more adaptable and less difficult to modify.

8. Use exception handling

Error management and protection against unexpected actions taken by the code are both essential components of exception handling. It is crucial to handle outliers in a meaningful and consistent way.

9. Use descriptive error messages

It is important for error messages to be understandable and detailed so that developers can comprehend the nature of the issue and determine a solution.

10. Use unit testing

Unit testing is an important practice that should be followed to guarantee that the code functions as intended and that modifications to the code do not result in the introduction of errors. Writing unit tests is another way to help guarantee that the code is readable, well-designed, and tidy.

11. Use comments wisely

Even though it is crucial to develop code that can document itself, comments are occasionally required in order to provide more context or explain difficult logic. On the other hand, comments should not be used in place of clean code, and their application should be considered carefully.

12. Avoid duplication

Duplicated code can make it more difficult to understand the code as well as maintain and modify it. It is essential to locate and eradicate any instances of repetition by making use of classes, methods, and inheritance.

13. Keep methods small

Methods with fewer steps are easy to comprehend, put to the test, and adjust. It is essential to break down bigger techniques into more specific, narrower methods that are able to perform a single task exceptionally well.

Conclusion

In conclusion, writing clean code is a good habit that can save time, lower the chance of making mistakes, and make code easier to understand and change. Developers can write code that is easier to read, manage, and understand by using meaningful names for variables and methods, consistent formatting, small, focused methods, inheritance, polymorphism, and handling exceptions. Using clear error messages and unit testing can also help make sure that the code works as intended and is clean and well-designed. These methods can be used with C# code and other computer languages as well.

Learning to write code in a clean fashion takes time and practice. Keeping these guidelines in mind and applying them each time you write code will help you form the habit.