Coding Blocks Podcast
Clean Code - Formatting Matters

For the full show notes visit:
http://www.codingblocks.net/episode50

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Survey

[yop_poll id="26"]

Formatting

  • If your code is a mess, then people will assume that your attention to detail in how the app was coded is also a mess - perception
  • Teams should adopt formatting rules and follow them
  • Automated tools help with the process
  • “Code formatting is important”
  • Code formatting has a direct affect on maintainability and extensibility of code over time

Vertical Formatting

  • Try to keep max length around 500 lines long and smaller is better - FitNesse app is in this range
  • Tomcat and Ant - several thousand lines long and at least half are over 200
  • Newspaper metaphor - read it vertically - headlines at the top detail increases as we go down the page
  • Separate concepts with blank lines
  • Closely associated code should be grouped together so it’s dense
  • Concepts (methods) that are closely related should be grouped as closely together as possible to keep from hunting through files
  • Variable declarations should be as close to their usage as possible
  • If the methods are short, then the variable declarations should be at the top of the function!
  • Control variables for loop should be defined within the loop
  • Instance variables should be declared at the top of a class
  • When one function calls another, those should be close vertically in the file
  • Conceptual affinity - when methods do similar things or are named similarly, they should also appear close to each other
  • Vertical ordering of methods - the caller should be first, then the callee, and that method’s callee, etc…on down the page

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Horizontal Formatting

  • How wide should a line be?!
  • In the popular projects examined, it appeared that 40% of lines were between 20 and 60 characters
  • Another 30% of lines were less than 10 characters…
  • Author suggests that beyond 100-120 is careless
  • Put spaces on both sides of an assignment operator (equals sign)
  • Don’t put spaces between the function name and the parens
  • DO put spaces after individual arguments / parameters in a list - shows they are separate
  • Also use spacing to indicate the precedence of operations - think of spacing in math equations with several parentheses - author calls it out for order of precedence, I actually don’t like this one - I prefer grouping with parens
  • Lining up variable declarations, names, types - found that it was distracting to the “story” of the code….I agree
  • Hierarchically lining up code based on it’s scope - super important
  • Author would sometimes condense multiple lines into one (like a get; set;) eventually set it back for readability (breaking indentation)
  • What about for PRINT statements in SQL???
    while statements - indent the semicolon on the next line…otherwise they’re hidden
  • Follow the team’s formatting rules…don’t go vigilante
  • He threw in Uncle Bob’s formatting rules

Resources we Like

Clean Code
Clean Code

Tip of the Week

Direct download: coding-blocks-episode-050.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:59pm EDT

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