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Discussion on: Writing Clean Code

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Jason C. McDonald • Edited

Excellent article, and very good points!

In some languages, the nesting is about more than just style. Branch prediction and instruction cache misses (from jump instructions) are very real things, and they can completely tank performance when structured incorrectly.

When possible, I prefer to use conditionals to catch off-cases, rather than the most frequent case, simply because that takes the best advantage of the performance gains from the branch prediction. The computer can get used to the condition evaluating false, which it will most of the time; if that prediction misses, I'm already going to have to deal with additional jump instructions and whatnot to handle the off-case, so performance can reasonably be considered (somewhat) shot at that point anyway. :wink:

On an unrelated subject, I also advocate commenting intent as a part of clean code. We should always be able to tell what the code does, but why is not something the code naturally expresses. (I discuss that more in my article, Your Project Isn't Done Yet).