Saturday, January 19, 2013

%%unconventional code readability tips - for prod support

[[The Art of Readable Code]] has tips on naming, early return (from functions), de-nesting,  variable reduction, and many other topics.... Here are my own thoughts.

I said in another blog that "in early phrases (perhaps including go-live) of a ent SDLC, a practical priority is instrumentation." Now I feel a 2nd practical priority is readability and traceability esp. for the purpose of live support. Here are a few unconventional suggestions that some authorities will undoubtedly frown upon.

Avoid cliche method names as they carry less information in the log. If a util function isn't virtual but widely used, try to name it uniquely.

Put numbers in names -- the less public but important class/function names. You don't want other people outside your  team to notice these unusual names, but names with embedded numbers are more unique and easier to spot.

Avoid function overloads (unavailable in C). They reduce traceability without adding value.

Log with individualized, colorful even outlandish words at strategic locations. More memorable and easier to spot in log.

Asserts - make them easy to use and encourage yourself to use them liberally. Convert comments to asserts.

If a variable (including a field) is edited from everywhere, then allow a single point of write access - choke point. This is more for live support than readability.

How do global variables fit in? If a Global is modified everywhere (no choke point), then it's hard to understand its life cycle. I always try to go through a single point of write-access, but Globals are too accessible and too open, so the choke point is advisory and easily bypassed.

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http://www.linkedin.com/in/tanbin