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How to improve the quality of your code

AP Java Exam Prep
Level 18 , Lesson 0

In programming, every year of practical coding experience matters. And normally it wouldn’t be a problem to distinguish a code written by Junior programmer from the code of a more experienced developer. Actually, many programmers with several years of professional experience would probably be a little embarrassed looking at the code they have written not as long as a year ago or less.

Poor quality code can be a real problem affecting not only you but the rest of the development team and the project as a whole. Fortunately, with time and experience, given you are writing code full time, the quality of your code will be getting better.

But the perfection doesn't come by itself, you need to seek it. Here are some recommendations to improve your coding style.

1. Learn the theory and read books on improving the coding style

Reading books and other materials on how to make your code better is always advisable. Clean Code: A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship by Robert C. Martin is one of the most famous books about the coding style. It is highly recommended to programming beginners. In it, the author demonstrates the main differences between good and bad code, and explains the major rules of writing clean and readable code using the best practices. There are multiple other books that you can read:

  • Pragmatic programmer by Andrew Hunt & David Thomas,
  • Algorithms by Robert Sedgewick & Kevin Wayne,
  • Data Structures and Algorithms Made Easy by Narsimha Karumanchi.

2. Learn about the Coding Conventions and follow them

Coding conventions are sets of guidelines for each specific programming language with recommendations on different aspects of software development in this language, including coding style, best practices and methods. Coding conventions are meant to be followed by software programmers who are coding in this language as the quality guides to ensure their code is readable and the proper maintenance of the software by other people is possible.

Coding conventions normally cover every essential component of making software in this programming language. Here you can learn more about the most common Java Coding Conventions.

3. Use static code analyzers

Using tools that provide automatic code analysis is a way to achieve an improvement in the quality of your code by finding errors in it right after it’s written. Static code analyzers allow you to add an additional quality assurance layer and improve the code prior to the code review phase.

Here are some of the popular static code analyzers for Java: Checkstyle, SpotBugs, PMD Java, Find Security Bugs.

4. Apply four-eyes principle in code reviews

Applying the four-eyes principle to coding means that at least two people should perform the code review, including the author of the code. Nowadays, pull requests are used as one of the most common mechanisms for a developer to notify team members about a completed feature and ask for a review before merging the new code into an existing repository.

5. Apply the Continuous Integration practice and use CI tools

Continuous integration (CI) is the practice of merging all developers' working copies to a shared mainline several times a day. Applying continuous integration allows you to get quick feedback about broken builds and fix them immediately.

There are multiple CI tools that you can use to improve the quality of your code.

Jenkins, for example, is an open source automation server written in Java that allows developers to reliably build, test, and deploy their software with continuous integration and continuous delivery of projects, regardless of the platform.

Buddy is another well-known continuous integration and delivery software tool. Claims to be 87% faster for CI/CD adoption time compared to other tools.

TeamCity is a general-purpose CI/CD solution that allows the most flexibility for all sorts of workflows and development practices. The Projects Overview lets you quickly check the status of your builds, see what triggered them, download the latest build artifacts, and more.

6. Use debugging tools

Using debugging tools is highly advisable as they also can increase the quality of code to a great extent. When it comes to Java development, all major IDEs, such as IntelliJ IDEA, Eclipse and NetBeans, have debugging features, either in-built or as plugins.

7. Use CodeGym to learn and practice best coding practices in Java

Learning Java on CodeGym and using CG as a platform to practice your coding skills also proves to be effective when it comes to improving the coding style. Since CodeGym course was designed as a way for inexperienced beginners to learn Java and get a job in software development, it teaches learners to mind the quality of their code from the very beginning.

Comments (1)
Hoist Level 29, San Diego, United States
28 October 2022
I started on Codegym 2019 ! --- just got to level 18 whew -- taking my time and getting a deeper understanding of what I am doing in Java. I also do Web Dev with Javascript -- plus C# - Salesforce APEX and some Dev Ops on google and aws. It took awhile to bounce between programming languages