Refine Your Coding with These Easy Tips April 23, 2019

Refine Your Coding with These Easy Tips

In recent years, a strange idea has risen within the realm of software developers.

Rather than understanding the quality of code, it is more common for a product to be advertised as superior simply because it has more lines of code.

While this “quantity over quality” notion can be beneficial in some instances, such as storage space within a hard drive, it certainly should not be the standard to code writing.

Thus, it is crucial to touch on the art of creating code that not only works but works efficiently, conserving both time and computer resources. Just like we need to reduce the waste of resources, we also need to stop wasting valuable time and virtual assets to amp up productivity as well as efficiency.

Below we have listed several important factors to improve your coding efficiency.

Create a Constructive Work Environment

With the circumstances varying greatly from coder to coder, it’s anticipated that these suggestions will be easier to implement for some more than others. For example, it will be much simpler for a freelancer to take control and change their work environment in comparison to a team member of a company. However, these suggestions will benefit all coders, and it may be a great idea to send the link to your team manager to discuss possible implementations. Below are all the things that will contribute to creating a more productive, uplifting work environment.

Avoid Music

While it is entertaining to watch tech-savvy developers effortlessly type out hundreds of lines of perfect code while jamming out to death-metal in movies, this isn’t practical in the real world.

Coding is the pinnacle of creativity and innovation, yet it also requires focus and concentration due to its highly logical nature. It may be easy to get distracted and lose track of your progress if there is music blasting nearby. While the right type of music may help you brainstorm ideas for your code, it may end up being the cause for that one crucial, missing semicolon.

Consider a Flexible Working Schedule

Studies have repeatedly shown that creative people are most productive at night. With a mostly creative job such as software development, a non-traditional schedule may work better than your average 9-5 workdays. A set schedule may harm the team’s efficiency and motivation. Furthermore, it is important for people to act when creativity strikes, and that may prove to be difficult with a rigid work schedule.

With a creative job like coding, you need your team to be energized and motivated in order to reach the best ideas and the best products. Instead of presenting your team with a non-negotiable 9-5 work schedule, consider incorporating telecommunication and allowing your team to have a choice as to when they work. After all, software development is one of the few jobs where the team’s work can be accessed easily, allowing for endless flexibility as to the location and time of productivity. By presenting your team with this freedom, you will not only be boosting productivity but also Improving the overall work atmosphere as well as team morale.

Of course, there are times when collaboration and set meeting times are simply necessary to your team’s unity and productivity. However, this is no reason to enforce a rigid schedule throughout the month. Consider setting certain meeting days during a work period and allowing your coders to work on their own time of choosing during the other days. In the end, allowing flexibility in your employee’s schedule may be vital to boosting innovation, creativity, and productivity.

Employers: Be Careful with Criticism

While constructive criticism can go a long way in improving someone’s product, always be tactful and conscious of choosing the right moment and the right approach to criticizing someone. As a highly creative career, many coders may take offense to criticism that is phrased or delivered in the wrong way. Instead of inspiring them and providing helpful ideas, the wrong words may set back the coder’s creativity as well as make them afraid to take risks in the future. As a manager or employer, you just need to be mindful of your approach to criticism in order to harbor a productive work atmosphere.

Keep Your Workplace Clean

Even though tons of creative geniuses have unbelievably messy and cluttered workspaces, it is more likely than not that your clutter will prove to be counterproductive. In those moments when you actually need to find something amongst the clutter, you may end up losing a lot of precious time that can be otherwise spent coding. While keeping a few prized objects on your desk can actually serve to improve your concentration and productivity, it is a good idea to clear unnecessary clutter.

More than just your physical environment, it is also a good idea to clear your desktop on your computer as well. By doing so, you will be guaranteeing easy access to all your important files as well as providing yourself with a clean platform to work on. If you have trouble keeping your virtual desktop organized, try using minimalist DTEs like Fluxbox, which is a tool that forces you to declutter.

Although many contradicting studies are advertising either clean and messy workplaces to boost productivity, in the end, you need to prioritize yourself. While we find that the majority of coders see improvements in productivity after cleaning up, it is perfectly understandable that this may not apply to you. It is up to you to find the perfect balance between chaos and cleanliness that allows you to perform your best.

Institute an effective SOP

Within the business management and programming procedure, there are plenty of trends that sound better on paper than in practice. What determines the success of any approach is your objective, and what results you are aiming to achieve.

An example of a technique that can fail in execution is pair programming, which is widely praised for its role in rapid development. This methodology requires two programmers to each workstation, meaning it costs twice as much to develop the same or less amount of work. Additionally, the constant stop/start flow and penchant for unneeded dialog extended the amount of time needed to work.

While there were certain benefits to pair programming, such as suggestions to tighten up the algorithm, these benefits also caused issues due to the changes being unnecessary.

An additional danger associated with this method was the development of programmers’ apprehension toward trying things to avoid the possibility of being corrected. There may also be conflicts between developers who have opposing characteristics, such as traditional versus spontaneous.

While programmers themselves often view pair programming as beneficial, this could be attributed to the social interaction it allows – which does nothing for the efficiency of production other than increasing morale.

Thus, it’s vital to determine what works for your developers and doesn’t. If you find that one approach is not effective, it’s good to get rid of it, despite its popularity elsewhere; if your team is being limited by a method that is not suited for them and their style, further issues will develop.

Encourage thorough documentation

Despite the extra time it takes to be especially detailed and precise in comments, this precaution can prevent additional problems that may come up as the project further develops and requires revising.

Advise against unneeded documentation

Skillfully written code is also self-documenting; if you can determine what a function does solely base on its name, then including additional documentation is redundant. This is the case with variable naming and returns values as well. In the instance where it’s not possible to do so, write a description of the function in comments.

Make use of white space

Incorporating white space, where necessary, can make your code more clearly read, reviewed, and understood. This is an aspect of good documenting and making your code self-documenting. Your code should ideally be comprehensible to any experienced programmer that picks up a copy of your source code.

Prioritize simplicity over complexity

The more complicated your code is, the more difficult it can be to decipher. This is also the case with programming shortcuts such as shorthand conditionals, which reduces writing time, but also prevents less experienced programmers who may review your code from being able to comprehend your goals.

Test extensively

Code should be tested as frequently as possible. Before deploying any code, you should carry out abundant in-house testing, even if your first release is to be designated Alpha.

Employ version control

Version control is essential to the success of any major project. Without it, your own minor mistakes remain unnoticed, making it easy for another team member to accidentally disrupt your code by overwriting it with something you dislike.

Keeping these eight critical suggestions in mind will allow you to develop your strategy for maximizing the efficiency of you and your fellow team members. Not all of these will be applicable for you, but any combination of them will likely improve your process in some capacity.

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