re: Don’t document your code. Code your documentation. VIEW POST


While I agree with the general gist of the article, I would live to address this part:

"Extract as much code as you can to methods. Even if you end up having a method with only 3 or 4 lines. Each method should do one thing and only one thing. "

I am not a fan of this part of Clean Code. It is too simplistic on it's advice given - extraction is a good tool, but giving blanket recommendations this way doesn't work.

Let me explain.

I understand where you are coming from, and I did the same for years, but I eventually concluded that my behaviour was leading to worse code, not better. Now, instead, where I used to extract a function, I just tidy it up into a commented block.

In theory, aggressive extraction sounds really good, but pushing for it will lead to premature (i.e. incorrect) abstraction. (Also, since we are talking about a class here, it will also tend to lead to harder-to-track state because it's now spread out over many methods.)

The reason why it leads to premature abstraction is that extracting is really hard to do correctly. It's pretty hard to find the border for what your "one" thing is (and naming it is even harder, sometimes an elegant name obscures), so you are going to fail at doing it a large % of the time. Because the more you extract, the more failed extractions you are going to have, it's important to be careful about extracting and don't use it wildly.

John Carmack, the oculus CTO, writes about a similar thing here:

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