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How to write clean Code (1)

Lakhveer Bawa
I share code snippets related to Vuejs, NuxtJs, Laravel, Symfony, PHP and JavaScript
・4 min read

Hello everyone, hope you are doing well and staying safe.

I recently came across an awesome GitHub repo,

which enlists the ideas to write cleaner code. Examples are written in javascript, but applies to most of the programming languages.

Here I am going to mention some of the most important and usually ignored takeaways from that repo.

Function arguments (2 or fewer ideally)

One or two arguments is the ideal case, and three should be avoided if possible. Anything more than that should be consolidated. Usually, if you have more than two arguments then your function is trying to do too much. In cases where it's not, most of the time a higher-level object will suffice as an argument.

Bad:

function createMenu(title, body, buttonText, cancellable) {
  // ...
}

createMenu("Foo", "Bar", "Baz", true);
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Good:

function createMenu({ title, body, buttonText, cancellable }) {
  // ...
}

createMenu({
  title: "Foo",
  body: "Bar",
  buttonText: "Baz",
  cancellable: true
});
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Functions should do one thing

This is by far the most important rule in software engineering. When functions do more than one thing, they are harder to compose, test, and reason about. When you can isolate a function to just one action, it can be refactored easily and your code will read much cleaner. If you take nothing else away from this guide other than this, you'll be ahead of many developers.

Bad:

function emailClients(clients) {
  clients.forEach(client => {
    const clientRecord = database.lookup(client);
    if (clientRecord.isActive()) {
      email(client);
    }
  });
}
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Good:

function emailActiveClients(clients) {
  clients.filter(isActiveClient).forEach(email);
}

function isActiveClient(client) {
  const clientRecord = database.lookup(client);
  return clientRecord.isActive();
}
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Functions should only be one level of abstraction

When you have more than one level of abstraction your function is usually
doing too much. Splitting up functions leads to reusability and easier
testing.

Bad:

function parseBetterJSAlternative(code) {
  const REGEXES = [
    // ...
  ];

  const statements = code.split(" ");
  const tokens = [];
  REGEXES.forEach(REGEX => {
    statements.forEach(statement => {
      // ...
    });
  });

  const ast = [];
  tokens.forEach(token => {
    // lex...
  });

  ast.forEach(node => {
    // parse...
  });
}
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Good:

function parseBetterJSAlternative(code) {
  const tokens = tokenize(code);
  const syntaxTree = parse(tokens);
  syntaxTree.forEach(node => {
    // parse...
  });
}

function tokenize(code) {
  const REGEXES = [
    // ...
  ];

  const statements = code.split(" ");
  const tokens = [];
  REGEXES.forEach(REGEX => {
    statements.forEach(statement => {
      tokens.push(/* ... */);
    });
  });

  return tokens;
}

function parse(tokens) {
  const syntaxTree = [];
  tokens.forEach(token => {
    syntaxTree.push(/* ... */);
  });

  return syntaxTree;
}
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Getting the abstraction right is critical, that's why you should follow the SOLID principles laid out in the Classes section. Bad abstractions can be worse than duplicate code, so be careful! Having said this, if you can make a good abstraction, do it! Don't repeat yourself, otherwise, you'll find yourself updating multiple places anytime you want to change one thing.

Don't use flags as function parameters

Flags tell your user that this function does more than one thing. Functions should do one thing. Split out your functions if they are following different code paths based on a boolean.

Bad:

function createFile(name, temp) {
  if (temp) {
    fs.create(`./temp/${name}`);
  } else {
    fs.create(name);
  }
}
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Good:

function createFile(name) {
  fs.create(name);
}

function createTempFile(name) {
  createFile(`./temp/${name}`);
}
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Favor functional programming over imperative programming

JavaScript isn't a functional language in the way that Haskell is, but it has a functional flavor to it. Functional languages can be cleaner and easier to test. Favor this style of programming when you can.

Bad:

const programmerOutput = [
  {
    name: "Uncle Bobby",
    linesOfCode: 500
  },
  {
    name: "Suzie Q",
    linesOfCode: 1500
  },
  {
    name: "Jimmy Gosling",
    linesOfCode: 150
  },
  {
    name: "Gracie Hopper",
    linesOfCode: 1000
  }
];

let totalOutput = 0;

for (let i = 0; i < programmerOutput.length; i++) {
  totalOutput += programmerOutput[i].linesOfCode;
}
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Good:

const programmerOutput = [
  {
    name: "Uncle Bobby",
    linesOfCode: 500
  },
  {
    name: "Suzie Q",
    linesOfCode: 1500
  },
  {
    name: "Jimmy Gosling",
    linesOfCode: 150
  },
  {
    name: "Gracie Hopper",
    linesOfCode: 1000
  }
];

const totalOutput = programmerOutput.reduce(
  (totalLines, output) => totalLines + output.linesOfCode,
  0
);
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Encapsulate conditionals

Bad:

if (fsm.state === "fetching" && isEmpty(listNode)) {
  // ...
}
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Good:

function shouldShowSpinner(fsm, listNode) {
  return fsm.state === "fetching" && isEmpty(listNode);
}

if (shouldShowSpinner(fsmInstance, listNodeInstance)) {
  // ...
}
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Prefer composition over inheritance

It basically means that where possible do not extend other classes to bring the functionality of that class into the current class, but create a local property and initiate that class into that property.
and use it

Bad:

class Employee {
  constructor(name, email) {
    this.name = name;
    this.email = email;
  }

  // ...
}


// Bad because Employees "have" tax data. EmployeeTaxData is not a type of Employee
class EmployeeTaxData extends Employee {
  constructor(ssn, salary) {
    super();
    this.ssn = ssn;
    this.salary = salary;
  }

  // ...
}
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Good:

class EmployeeTaxData {
  constructor(ssn, salary) {
    this.ssn = ssn;
    this.salary = salary;
  }

  // ...
}

class Employee {
  constructor(name, email) {
    this.name = name;
    this.email = email;
  }

  setTaxData(ssn, salary) {
    this.taxData = new EmployeeTaxData(ssn, salary);
  }
  // ...
}
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Single Responsibility Principle (SRP)

As stated in Clean Code, "There should never be more than one reason for a class to change". It's tempting to jam-pack a class with a lot of functionality, like when you can only take one suitcase on your flight. The issue with this is that your class won't be conceptually cohesive and it will give it many reasons to change. Minimizing the amount of times you need to change a class is important. It's important because if too much functionality is in one class and you modify a piece of it, it can be difficult to understand how that will affect other dependent modules in your codebase.

Bad:

class UserSettings {
  constructor(user) {
    this.user = user;
  }

  changeSettings(settings) {
    if (this.verifyCredentials()) {
      // ...
    }
  }

  verifyCredentials() {
    // ...
  }
}
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Good:


class UserAuth {
  constructor(user) {
    this.user = user;
  }

  verifyCredentials() {
    // ...
  }
}

class UserSettings {
  constructor(user) {
    this.user = user;
    this.auth = new UserAuth(user);
  }

  changeSettings(settings) {
    if (this.auth.verifyCredentials()) {
      // ...
    }
  }
}
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Covered until
https://github.com/ryanmcdermott/clean-code-javascript#openclosed-principle-ocp

References:
https://github.com/ryanmcdermott/clean-code-javascript#openclosed-principle-ocp

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