How often have you thought about whether your code is clean or not? Frankly, how do you even determine what a ‘clean code’ is and what is code quality in the first place?
The quality of the code is crucial since it affects the overall quality of any piece of technology that you may be creating or using. Code quality has a direct impact on your code’s reliability, security, and safety.
The best of the development teams and companies have already woken up to the fact that how essential high-quality code is.
But why is code quality even important? Why should you and your technology teams even care about the code being properly indented or covered with comments or not?
In this article, let us share with you why code quality can make or break your technology systems and products.
Also, if you are looking for expert code quality consultants for your business, do get in touch with us at Wolf Tech to schedule a free call.
Let’s get started understanding code quality.
What Is Code Quality?
Developers use the phrase “code quality” to define a piece of code’s quality. What does that signify, though?
High-quality code implies that the code is written in a manner that makes it highly readable and understandable. Some factors include the proper use of comments within the code to make it more self-explanatory, having proper indentation for the user to understand the code hierarchy, ensuring clear notations, and a simple flow of logic.
Quality code has a contextual definition. However, good quality code is typical:
- Properly documented
- Simple to comprehend
- Fit for its intended purpose
- Is consistent with your company’s best practices
If your code is of high quality, your websites, apps, and software will be dependable. Poorly written code could make your system unreliable and even “buggy”.
Is Code Quality important for your business?
Code builds every piece of technology that you use in your business or create for your customers.
Whether written for software used internally by your company or as a crucial part of a multi-billion-dollar app used by millions of customers worldwide, high-quality code helps software and digital products serve their purpose more effectively and reliably.
It’s almost as if you add predictability to the code, it will almost always work as intended.
In essence, better software results from better code.
Further, your users and you can be protected from various vulnerabilities by having high-quality code as the backbone of your system. Well-written code will result in digital products and apps that are safer and more secure. The reason for that is that all the parts of the code are written after deliberation following a proper code structure.
That is crucial in a time when regulators are increasingly expecting businesses to take data protection seriously.
Even if the worst-case scenario does not occur due to bad coding, an unreliable piece of software created on subpar quality code may lessen the effectiveness of your business operations and projects even if used internally.
A poorly written code could significantly harm the user experience if it supports an app utilized by other parties (such as regular users) (UX). After the release, the issue will probably deteriorate because it is challenging for developers to comprehend and modify the code.
How Can Code Quality Be Measured?
How you measure the code quality should depend on what constitutes ‘high-quality code’ for your application. But regardless of the app or the digital product you’re creating, it would help if you focused on the following things:
When you get a code quality consultant like Wolf Tech on board, your code quality is thorough across these parameters.
Let’s look at each of these topics.
The likelihood that a system will function correctly over an extended period is measured by reliability.
It has to do with the number of flaws and the accessibility of the software.
Static analysis tools can be used to count the number of flaws. The mean time between failures can be used to gauge the availability of software (MTBF). Low defect levels are particularly crucial for creating a trustworthy codebase.
Static analysis tools help identify reliability issues before they occur since they may be used to assess source code before starting a program.
For your immediate knowledge, some of the widely used static analysis tools include ReSharper, Coverity, StyleCop, Source Insight, Micro Focus Fortify Static Code Analyzer and SonarQube.
To guarantee maintainability, you can’t rely on a single statistic. The number of stylistic warnings and Halstead complexity measurements are a couple of metrics you may consider increasing maintainability. The creation of maintainable codebases requires both automated and manual review processes.
Software’s ease of maintenance is gauged by maintainability. It concerns the codebase’s size, consistency, structure, and complexity. Furthermore, ensuring maintainable source code depends on several elements, including testability and understandability.
Depending on the following variables, maintaining code can be more or less difficult:
- Codebase’s size – Larger typically means harder
- Uniformity of the coding – Inconsistent coding practices negatively impact
- Complexity of the code – Complex code typically requires more maintenance effort.
How well the program supports testing efforts in various use cases is measured by testability. Testability serves as a catch-all for the different elements influencing how simple (or difficult) it is to test code.
Again, some of the aspects that affect the testability of your code are:
- Complexity of the code
- Size and length of the piece of code
- The number of dependencies of the code on other libraries
- The number of intended and possible outputs that could result from the software
The level of portability indicates how well a piece of software works in various settings. This has to do with platform independence.
No defined metric for portability exists. However, there are several approaches to guarantee portable code.
Instead of waiting until the end of development, testing code at various stages across different platforms is critical. Additionally, it’s a good idea to utilize at least two compilers and set your compiler’s warning levels as high as feasible. A code standard that is enforced promotes portability as well.
Reusing existing assets, such as code, is measured by reusability. If a digital asset or software exhibits loose coupling or modularity features, it is more likely to be reused. The best way to gauge reuse is to enumerate the interdependencies.
The fewer there are, the less reusable the code is. To determine your code’s interdependencies, use a static code analysis.
While these were the aspects on which the code quality is measured, let us now take you through the exact metrics on which you can get your code quality measured.
What Are Code Quality Metrics
The code quality metric defines good (high quality) and bad (low quality) code.
Quality good or bad is all relative terms. Depending on the situation, different teams may employ various meanings. For an automotive developer, high-quality code might imply one thing. And for a web application developer, it can mean something else.
Which Code Quality Metrics to Use
Your code’s quality can be evaluated using a variety of metrics.
1. Failure Metrics
Important measures of overall quality include the number of flaws and the severity of those defects.
These metrics comprise:
- Determining the stage at which the problem first appears.
- How many open defect reports are there
- It’s time to find and fix errors.
- The density of errors (e.g., number of defects per line of code).
2. Complexity Metrics
Another good way to determine the quality is by calculating Halstead’s complexity measures. What is Halstead’s complexity measure is a topic to be covered in another blog post in detail.
However, these metrics measure:
- Program vocabulary
- Program length
- Program Difficulty
- Program Effort
Further, as you understand more about complexity, you will realize that the code should have least dependencies. The amount of linearly independent paths in a program’s source code is measured by cyclomatic complexity. Two applications of cyclomatic complexity are possible:
- Limit code complexity
- Determine the number of test cases required to test the code
This section was only to give you a brief idea of what some of the quantitative metrics of the code are.
The 7 Most Critical Qualitative Metrics
When evaluating your code quality, seven factors recur frequently. Which are:
1. Can even novice coders understand your code easily?
2. Can you extend your code? Can developers who aren’t the original author edit it?
3. Is your code easy to maintain?
4. How’s the code for portability?
5. Is your code well tested for quality and bugs?
6. Does regularly updated documentation accompany your code?
7. Is your code refactored regularly to reduce the problem of technical debt?
How To Improve Code Metrics
You can better grasp where you are by measuring quality. An expert code quality consultant like Wolf Tech does this job really well. Following the measurement, you can take action to raise the overall quality.
Here are five ways you can improve the quality of your code:
- A good mindset for coding
- Use a coding standard across all apps
- Analyze code — before testing and during testing
- Follow code review best practices during testing
- Refactor legacy code (when necessary)
Let’s look at these.
1. A good mindset for coding
An essential prerequisite for writing high-quality code is the right mindset. You will not produce readable code if readability is not essential to you.
The reason for this is relatively simple. As a developer, you are mainly concerned with finding a solution for a functional or technical problem, and it is more about finding an intelligent approach and formulating it as an algorithm.
2. Use a coding standard across all apps
One of the best ways to assure high-quality code is to use a coding standard. It enhances the codebase’s coherence and readability. You would observe that this results in lower code complexity and higher reliability.
3. Analyze code — before testing and during testing
Your focus should be on quality from the very beginning of development. As development advances, there is less and less time to spare. Code analysis should therefore be done before any code reviews are conducted.
Immediately after the code is written, it is best to analyze it. Automatic code analysis is the best technique to raise quality. You may ensure that the code that enters the code review phase is of the highest caliber possible by running a static analyzer over it frequently and early in the development process.
4. Follow Code Review Best Practices
Manual code reviews are still crucial for confirming the code’s intention. Effective code reviews raise the general level of software quality.
5. Refactoring Older Code (when necessary)
Refactoring is one method for enhancing the quality of an existing codebase. Refactoring legacy code can help you declutter and simplify your codebase.
Why Code Quality Matters
Any code’s quality matters since it greatly impact the software’s overall durability and longevity. Taking it a step further, the quality will determine whether your codebase is secure, dependable, and safe, increasing your product’s lifetime value.
High-quality code is the only choice for systems crucial for business, safety, and security.
Comparing high and low quality
It is highly organized, tried, communicative, and behaves correctly, making it reliable and stable. It will endure however long is necessary. On the other hand, bad code is bad code. Because of this, your project or product will eventually fail because it won’t survive nearly as long.
Good code, or high-quality code features:
- Does what it should
- Clean and reusable code
- Follows a consistent design style
- Remains easy to understand
- Requirements have been well documented
- It is highly testable via automation
- It is easier to comprehend and to follow along (e.g., it is highly maintainable)
Conversely, poorly written quality code can have disastrous results:
- buggy behavior exhibited by the code
- slow implementation of production
- messy code with low cohesion and high coupling
- code that cannot be maintained
- usage of obsolete libraries/frameworks
- repetition of code leading toward costly refactoring
How can we produce high-quality code?
- Making reusable components
- using the correct data type and declaring variables with appropriate names are all important.
- Loops should be avoided as they will reduce performance
- Add comments to any methods, functions, or logic you use.
- Create the configuration files, exception handling files, and constant files.
- When you’re done with the logic and functions, review the code.
What Is Code Structure?
Most people don’t create any structure when it comes to coding, including management teams and programmers. They will attack each step as it comes without following any protocol.
The structure of a code is ascertained by the connection pattern between rows and columns. The connection pattern ascertains the complexity of the communication interconnect between check and variable processing nodes in the encoder and decoder hardware implementations.
Why is the structure of code important?
When you create a structure for your code, you start breaking it into various steps bringing to its achievement. You will confirm that each step has been correctly completed before moving on to the next. You wouldn’t just skip from one stage to another without any planning and cross-checking. Programming and development, in general, follow the same rules. Clear planning enables higher efficiency, saves time, and better quality.
Conclusion – What is code quality
Writing quality code is crucial and businesses realize this late in their journey. As soon as you start writing code, this code must also be sustainable, traceable, and understandable.
As a developer, you must program it in an extremely targeted manner. And that usually starts before you even write code and starts with good planning of the whole development process. Do check out our code quality consulting where we help businesses like yours maintain high standards of code quality across your applications.