Sunday, January 30, 2005

Too Many Cooks

How Not to Write FORTRAN in Any Language "Style guides: I hate ’em. After all, I know which style is the best: mine! Style guides often appear to be dreary lists of arbitrary-seeming rules that limit my creativity. Reading them puts me to sleep.

When I maintain code, however, I set aside my personal style and try to match the style of the project. I want my code to look exactly like everyone else’s code, at least as far as the style guide goes. The reason for this, again, is familiarity. (Is this sounding familiar?) If you use the same coding conventions throughout a software project, the maintainers will grow accustomed to the style and it will magically become transparent to them. They will see the code, not the style.

Lack of consistency is one of the hallmarks of bad code. If 30 different people worked on a source file, I really, really don’t want to see 30 different coding styles or naming schemes when I read it. It becomes a nightmare to attempt to find structure in code like that. Coders have to be humble and accept that for code to be readable, their favorite style is not as good as the established style."

Changing Software and Legacy Code "The last consequence of avoiding change is fear. Unfortunately, many teams live with incredible fear of change and it gets worse every day. Often they aren't aware of how much fear they have until they learn better techniques and the fear starts to fade away."
Post a Comment