I’m always looking for the easiest way to make my code better, or to train myself to pay more attention to the quality of the code I produce. My latest find is quite obvious yet so very powerful I had to share. Simply put, it’s just going over your code once more before a commit.
Every once in a while, I commit code and forget to add a file. Even worse, I sometimes leave around dead code that I really hate. I’ve found out that simply making a mental note to go over every file I changed before making a commit makes a big difference. It seems like the Boy Scout Rule from Clean Code is a special case of this rule.
The trick is to simply go over every file you’ve changed and look for common pitfalls:
Unused code – Are there methods your changes just made obsolete? Maybe a conditional with an “else” clause that can no longer happen? Delete code! It’s the best code you’ll write today!
Zombie code – Did you start with something that was too complex and is no longer needed? Often in retrospect you can see how to simplify something and spare your colleagues the woes of zombie code.
Overdue refactoring – Look at your changes. Are you pushing a method too far? Maybe making a class too bloated? Maybe it’s time to for some cleaning.
Do you have a better name for it now? Sometimes when you start with something you don’t have a great name for it. After finishing it, you might be able to slap a better name on that class that will make it more obvious to everyone.
Any dangling TODOs? I hate committing TODOs unintentionally.
Make sure it’s all coherent in class-level – Some changes make sense when you’re knee-deep in a change. But step back and make sure it all still makes sense.