Java Exception Handling

Java Best Practices: 3 Tips For Writing Cleaner Code

Are you looking for one simple way to make Java code easier to maintain, debug, and develop? If so, you should simply adhere to Java best practices in order to produce great code. Great code doesn’t just work well; it is also readable, maintainable, and often, reusable. When you get confronted by a deadline and just needs to get the thing to work, it’s tempting to toss in some hacks. However, these shortcuts are likely to punish you later when you need to debug or upgrade your scripts. If you get into the habit of writing code well, you will save yourself time and money in the end.

Tips to Adhere to Java Best Practices

With this in mind consider these tested Java best practices to produce maintainable code:

1. Keep Java Classes Focused

In a perfect world, each Java class should just represent a specific concept. There’s not a magic number that specifies how many lines of code or how many methods each class should contain, but when classes start growing larger than a couple of hundred lines of code, it’s time to reconsider the program’s design.

Smaller classes will make the code easier to understand. They will also increase the likelihood that the classes can be plugged into other scripts to help with specific tasks. A focus on clean and reusable code will help save money and speed up development for this project and perhaps, future projects.

2. Consider the One-Screen Rule for Java Methods

Ideally, a method should contain one specific function or set of functions. You should be able to see the code for each method on one screen or printed page, so it’s easy to grasp what the function is and how the method gets the job done. As with classes, if your methods start growing much larger than a page, it’s time to evaluate how your script has been designed.

You can write the most complex Java scripts by using short, focused classes and methods. If you have to upgrade or debug your script later, you will thank yourself for following this practice. Also, short and focused methods are much more likely to be reusable.

3. Adhere to a Standard Coding Style

If you adhere to style standards, you should be able to tell where a block of code begins and ends and what that code does. As a simple example, consider this standard style for producing readable code:

Notice that the first brace ends the line of code with the method declaration. The last brace is on a line by itself on the end. Also note that the method gets documented in English with comments. The comments aren’t part of the code; however, they explain what the code is supposed to do. Finally, the name of the method actually describes what the method does.

This might just seem like the standards from Computer Science 101, and that’s actually what they are. At the same time, these standards often get violated by experienced programmers. When code adheres to tested standards, less experienced programmers will be able to maintain it and be able to learn from it. This cuts costs and keeps all levels of developers more productive. It’s fine to develop your own in-house standards that deviate from the basics, but they should actually be documented and enforced standards.

Why Java Coding Standards Matter

Most programmers learn to develop clean and readable code in school. In the real world with its deadlines and much more complex requirements, it’s actually moderately experienced programmers who tend to break the rules in the interest of fixing a bug or meeting a tight deadline. Sadly, some programmers may even write unreadable and complex scripts with the misguided thought that they can make themselves more valuable. It’s obvious that truly valuable programmers write Java that is as easy as possible to debug and maintain.

When you can operate in real-life business situations and still maintain the habit of producing clean code that adheres to set standards, you can pat yourself on the back. You will benefit yourself and your company by saving time, money, and resources.