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Cover image for Code Smell 173 - Broken Windows
Maxi Contieri
Maxi Contieri

Posted on • Originally published at

Code Smell 173 - Broken Windows

Always leave the campground cleaner than you found it.” If you find a mess on the ground, you clean it up regardless of who might have made it.

TL;DR: Follow Uncle Bob's boy scout rule.


  • Readability

  • Maintainability


  1. Leave the code better

  2. Change it


We read code many more times than we write.

We must take ownership of code with errors and leave it better.

Sample Code


    int mult(int a,int  other) 
    { int prod
      prod= 0; 
      for(int i=0;i<other  ;i++) 
        prod+= a ; 
         return prod; 

// Formatting, naming, assignment and standards inconsistent
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int multiply(int firstMultiplier, int secondMultiplier) {
  int product = 0; 
  for(int currentIndex=0; currentIndex<secondMultiplier; currentIndex++) {
    product += firstMultiplier; 
  return product; 

// or just multiply them :)
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[X] Semi-Automatic

We can use other code smell detectors and leave the code in a better shape.


  • Standards


We must follow the Boy Scout rule and leave the code better.



Code Smells are just my opinion.


Photo by Pawel Czerwinski on Unsplash

One broken window, left unrepaired, instills in the inhabitants of the building a sense of abandonment. People start littering. Graffiti appears. Serious structural damage begins. In a relatively short span of time, the building becomes damaged

Andy Hunt

This article is part of the CodeSmell Series.

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