Quality Coding Practices
Programing codes are responsible to run many hardware and software systems. There is always a need to write quality codes so that the programs that are resulted by them are efficient and effective. Quality coding practices are informal rules that are utilized in codding to generate such programs. These practices have been developed over the time by programmers and software engineers after rigorous consideration and experience. I believe that abide by these practices, quality codes can be written that run quickly, have less or no bugs, require less processing power and occupy less storage space. The application of quality code practices would ensure that programing projects are run smoothly and completed on time (Hoch, Roeding, Lindner & Purkert, 2000). It would also ensure that these programs have high reliability and validity when they are presented to the consumer market and used by the general population. These programs would be safe and secure and free of loopholes that could enable computer viruses and malware to attach and damage them. In the following discussion, I have provided a detailed account of the most important quality coding practices that can guide programmers write quality codes.
Prerequisites to coding
Perfect coding need solid foundation. Before you even start to write a code, it is pertinent to know what the prerequisites are and how much they need to be met to start the coding process. Some of the prerequisites include the knowledge about the structure of the developmental process of the code. This is where you devise a complete plan related to the planning and execution of the coding process. Knowing the ultimate goal of the coed is also a necessary component.
You must know what the purpose of the code is and what its requirements are. Understanding the architecture of the code is also important. The architecture would tell you about the macro and micro issues that are involved in the code development. A code may consist of many individual components. It is a prerequisite coding practice to know in detail about the design of all individual components.
The final prerequisite, which is also the most important one is the decision about what programing language would be used. Different codes have different functions to perform and it is important to choose a relevant programing language that would best serve the desired functions. For example, if you are writing code for a website that would interact with a MySQL database, it’s better to choose PHP programing language. PHP is one of the best programing language to develop website based on MySQL database operations (Korhonen Donadini, Riisager & Pesonen, 2008). A decision to code such a website in HTML only would lead nowhere.
It is important to decide programing conventions for the codding process. Conventions may consists of how you would comment on different parts of the code so that others would understand what the part is exactly for. Comments are non-executable parts of a program which could be written in different manners. Usually, different programing languages have their own commenting styles. Commenting can tell us about what the module or part of the code is for and who wrote it.
Proper naming conventions should be utilized as it is a good programing practice. Names should be kept short but meaningful so that those who might want to alter the code would know exactly where to look for inside a programing code.
It is also pertinent to write a standardized code that is simple. Simple logics should be utilized. Complex logics may need extra processing resources and could slow down the programs. Complex coding is also difficult to correct and alter.
A programing code must be portable. Portability refers to the program being able to be run on any computer. One of the best practice here is to avoid hard coding values. Another practice is to avoid absolute file paths that point to specific paths on unique computers. If coding is hardwired to specific servers or IP addresses, they may run smoothly on other computer servers with different IPs.
Object Oriented Programing
“Object-oriented programing (OOP) is a programing language model organized around objects rather than “actions” and data rather than logic. Historically, a program has been viewed as a logical procedure that takes input data, processes it, and produces output data.” (OOP, 2016).
OOP enables us to divide the program in meaningful modules or objects. As a starter, different objects are identified. Data classes and subclasses are defined based in the objects. Java, Python, C++ and Visual Basis .NET, all support object orientated programing model. When different modules are develop by different programmers, they are then put together and become a full fledge program. OOP is an example of utilizing programmers working in teams and from different physical locations.
Best coding practice re quires building codes continuously and integrating them simultaneously. There is always a need to test as you go when you are writing programing codes. Testing is done at different levels. Testing is conducted by the programmers while they are coding. Testing is also performed after the different modules of the program are integrated together. Using the program after it is prepared is in itself a continuous as it allows the programmer to get feedback from the users and make improvements. The code is debugged and corrected for errors at different stages. After the program is prepared, it is deployed. It is important to keep in mind that the program must be easy to install, easily updated efficient and requires the minimum possible disk space.
Maintainability is directly related to the sustainability of a software. A software must be easily alterable when new requirements arise. Programmers should be careful of the fact that program they are writing might be used at different environments and it must be able to function in these changing environments. If a simple code with easy to understand logic is written, it would make it easy to revisit the program and make alterations (Misra, 2005). The end users usually do not alter or improve the programs, but they do provide feedback to the programmers or the organizations who created the code. The program should be written in such a way that the feedback from the end users can be easily incorporated to it so that the code is improved and the software that users have installed can be updated with these improvements.
We live in a world that is highly connected with the help of different communication channels, internet being the major channel. People can easily interact with each other electronically. One of the issues that has risen due to the internet and other form of communication is the issue of security of the computer systems and the software installed on these computers.
Programmers when writing codes must be able to identify what could be the threats to the code they are writing and how these threats could be avoided. Programming codes must not have loopholes which could be targeted by different viruses and Trojans to compromise the security of the programs and hence the security of the computer systems that they are installed on. Research is continuously done on the security issues related to computer programs. Programmers must keep themselves up to date with this research so that they produce risk free programs.
Ethics and coding
Computer programs could be written for either good or bad reasons. For example a computer virus is also a program but is it for good purposes. Certainly not, it is developed to harm the computers of others. Whenever you are writing a computer program, it must not be just for financial gains, but also contribute to the society somehow. Computer programs must be aimed at harming others or violating the privacy of others. It should be written with honest and trustworthy intentions.
Software engineers who supervise or manage programming project must not approve any software that is not safe and meets the ethical guidelines. They must be able to accept responsibility of their work. Software managers may also identify ethical issues and guide their programmers to not violate any ethics.
I would like to conclude my discussion by emphasizing the fact that best coding practices is an ever evolving field. New programing methods are introduced with their own specialized needs and requirements. Programmers must not shy from adopting to new coding practices that have not yet been developed and not in practice. Only then can we ensure that the codes that are generated meet the needs of the present and the future and the systems that they are run on are not prone to any safety and security issue to these code and the resulted programs. Organizations must be able to adopt to coding architectures that are service oriented and meet the needs and demands of the consumers for sustainability and long term success (Krafzig, Banke, & Slama, 2005).
Hoch, D. J., Roeding, C., Lindner, S. K., & Purkert, G. (2000). Secrets of software success (pp. 23-40). Boston: Harvard Business School Press.
Krafzig, D., Banke, K., & Slama, D. (2005). Enterprise SOA: service-oriented architecture best practices. Prentice Hall Professional.
Korhonen, K., Donadini, F., Riisager, P., & Pesonen, L. J. (2008). GEOMAGIA50: an archeointensity database with PHP and MySQL. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 9(4).
Misra, S. C. (2005). Modeling design/coding factors that drive maintainability of software systems. Software Quality Journal, 13(3), 297-320.
OOP. (2016). What is object-oriented programing (OOP)? – Definition from WhatIs.com. SearchMicroservices. Retrieved 14 October 2017, from http://searchmicroservices.techtarget.com/definition/object-oriented-programing-OOP