Code Smells

https://blog.codinghorror.com/code-smells/

This blog post will center on code smells which was a topic covered in class fairly early on. The reason why I’m going back to it is mainly to refamiliarize myself with the subject since it wasn’t a major topic in class. Code smells are defined by the blog post linked above as general warning signs in code, hence the name. There are different types of code smells that signify different coding problems. For example, long comments, long methods, overly large classes, duplicate code, dead code, inconsistent naming, uncommunicative naming, et cetera. Keep in mind that these issues won’t necessarily stop a program from running, rather they negatively effect on the performance and design levels. Also, all of these different types of code smells share the common trait of not quite looking right when looking at a larger scale. So at first glance the code might seem fine, but given a closer look the flaws whether it be dead code, inconsistent naming, or whatever become readily apparent.

A code smell isn’t something concrete like a detailed recipe, it’s more abstract than that. It similar to a suggestion or a tip and can lead to improving code both on a functional level and a design level. Take for example, noticing the code smells of long comments and dead code which suggest removing the useless code and either simplifying or outright deleting the comments. This will make the code more readable which also improves it on a design level. On the other hand, noticing the code smells of duplicate code and long methods and correcting each issue accordingly will improve the code on a performance level top of the possible design improvements. All of the types of code smells that I listed earlier still hold true but they act as more of a general guideline. There are some scenarios in which some smell types blend together such as long methods and overly large classes to name one. Detecting code smells isn’t going to always be the same in that what someone is looking for will differ every time and the outcome will also differ every time. This process is kind of like trying to find freshly spoiled food; sometimes it looks fine and sometimes you won’t know what exactly you’re looking for. But what you do know is that something smells off and you probably don’t want to risk the chance of getting sick.

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