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Best practices for Software engineering

What is the correct way to Coding?

In this article, we help you adopt best practices from the software engineering industry. The purpose of this article is to inculcate the right coding skills among Programmers

However before we venture into software engineering best practices, let’s get down to basics.

What is the significance of the right set of Practices pertaining to Software engineering?

Standardized coding conventions help keep the code relevant and useful for clients, future developers, and the coders themselves in the software engineering community. Programmers with deep coding experience will tell you that the majority of their time is spent reading code rather than writing it. With the availability of code easily across various online forums and portals, You may be working on existing code rather than writing something from scratch. So your code must be easy to understand for other engineers.

Now we are equipped with best practices, Let’s immerse ourselves into Ten techniques that will help you write production-level code and ultimately make you a better developer.

  1. Enhancing code readability!

Important aspects of writing code: Try to always write code that can be easily understood by others. Writing highly optimized code (eg based on functional programming), or creating complex libraries, is relatively easy versus writing let's say 500 lines of code that can be instantly understood by another software engineer is more of a challenge.

Though it may be perceived as additional work, However, this additional work will pay dividends in the future. It will make your life so much easier when returning to update your code. Moreover, the debugging process should be much more seamless for yourself, or for other engineers who need to make edits to your work.

Another important aspect of a professionally written code is its clean and modular nature. It is easily readable and logically structured into modules and functions. Leveraging modules enables your code to be more efficient, reusable, and organized.

Keep in mind, that future-proofing your code in this way should always be prioritized over finishing quickly. While you may feel that you are saving time by hacking away, in fact, you are creating hours of extra work down the line.

  1. Ensure Your Code Works Efficiently

To optimize your code, you need to make sure it executes the function quickly. In software engineering Practice, writing code quickly and correctly is pointless if the end product is slow and unstable. This holds true in large, complex programs. Even a small amount of lag can add up considerably, making your application and all of your engineering work - useless.

It is also important to minimize the memory footprint of your code. From a performance perspective, working with many functions on a large amount of data can drastically reduce the efficiency of your code.

3. Refactor Your Code

Refactoring is improving the structure of your code, without making modifications to its actual functionality. If there is multiple blocks of code that do similar things, it’s useful to refactor it into a single function as it would help in simplifying the code. Further, f you want to change how that function works, you (or any other engineer) only need to update one function instead of multiple functions. To create a high-quality program, devoting time to refactoring your code is essential. From a long-term perspective, Refactoring will speed up your development time, and make the software engineering process much smoother.

4. How to build the coding style that looks professional

A professional coding approach is not an exact science. It’s a point of view that can only be developed over time, by reading and writing a lot of code and developing your software engineering knowledge. One of the best practices expert coders emulate is that they don’t turn out unstructured blocks of code just for the sake of getting it done quickly. Conversely, their code is easily understandable by other engineers, no matter how much time it takes to write it.

Several principles will help you develop an effective coding style as enumerated below:

  • Follow descriptive names for functions and variables

  • Implementing modularity in your code

  • Avoiding excessive indentation

Thus, whether your code is generic or production quality, It should always follow good coding protocols

5. Version Control Usage

Version control entails a software engineering framework that tracks all edits and aligns them with a master file stored on a remote server. An effective version control system is a critical aspect of writing production code. Leveraging version control in a professional project will provide you with the following benefits:

  • In case your system crashes, the entire code is backed up on the server.

  • Engineers in the team can synchronize their changes regularly by downloading them from the server.

  • All developers can work independently to add/remove features or make changes to a single project, without impacting other members’ work.

  • If bugs are formed, you can always revert to a previous, stable version of the codebase that was known to work.

6. Testing of Your Code

Best testing practices not only ensure quality standards in software engineering but also guide and shape the development process itself. With proper Testing, We can ensure that the code gives the desired result and meets all necessary user requirements.

Unit tests are typically used to test small, self-contained parts of the code logic. The test cases are designed to cover all possible conditions.

The process of writing the test requires you to figure out the behavior of your code and how you’re going to test it.

Another important learning is that conducting Small and regular tests is better than one large test after completion. This approach would enable a modular structure and pave way for higher quality end product.

7. Keep It Simple principle

The idea is to keep your code as concise as possible. In the context of coding, this means making your code meaningful, and to the point, and avoiding unnecessary engineering work.

The Principle ensures that your code has high maintainability and it allows for you to go back and debug it easily, without wasting time and effort.

8. The DRY Principle

Like the previous two points, the DRY (Don’t Repeat Yourself) Principle aims at reducing repetition and redundancies within the software engineering process. This is attained by replacing repetitions with abstractions or by grouping code into functions.

If your code is executing the same instruction in multiple places, Then it can be a real struggle to manage, even for experienced engineers. Let’s say you decide to change how that instruction works. You need to update your code 6 times for just 1 change! It’s therefore much better practice to create a single function that performs the instruction once, and reference this function each time it’s needed. If you want to change how it works, you only need to update the code once.

Other Best Practices:

Earmark appropriate names to all functions, variables, and methods. This will ensure that your code is easier to read, understand, and debug.

Incorporate the standard or native language of the developer for names and descriptive texts. Avoid abbreviations as much as possible to reduce ambiguity.

Use consistent indentation and alignment while formatting your code for better readability.

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