Thursday 14 January 2010

Clean code

At the beginning of Clean Code, Uncle Bob Martin enlists various well-respected programmers to explain what code cleanliness means to them. These luminaries include Bjarne Stroustrup (inventor of C++) and Ward Cunningham (inventor of the wiki).

Here is my definition:
Clean code imposes minimal impedance between the reader and the intent of the author. It contains little accidental complexity and its meaning can be easily understood, verified and manipulated.
When I work with clean code I have a sensation of reaching through the code to directly engage with the system's concepts.

When I work with unclean code my vision is clouded by weak naming, murky structure, inadequate commenting, convoluted dependencies and duplicated logic. Unclean code makes me afraid, because I cannot predict or understand the consequences of my changes.