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Discussion on: Comments Are The Only "Code Smell"

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sramkrishna profile image
Sriram Ramkrishna

I tend to over comment my code, mostly because I'll look at it and then 6 months later I will loo at it again. It always ends up that I can't remember why I did anything in the code so the comments are to remind me. This was all internal code at my employer and mostly tools not apps. In the end, I suppose you could instead write a doc, and then add issues instead of adding "FIXME:" type of comments.
I still enjoy adding lots of comments, but most of the time my code tends to be self documenting.

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bytebodger profile image
Adam Nathaniel Davis Author

I definitely don't like the idea of external documentation - cuz in a quarter century of doing this, I have never seen the external documentation kept up-to-date with the live code.

Also, I don't hate the TODO / FIXME type comments. I personally think they can be useful when you're in a pre-launch state and the code is changing rapidly and you want to remind yourself that you need to do a little more work at this point in the code. But once the app is launched, I've rarely ever seen those comments acted upon. They become just as stale (and as meaningful) as a bit of "Kilroy Was Here" graffiti.

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sramkrishna profile image
Sriram Ramkrishna

Oh I agree. But I've been really happy with past self for writing for for future forgetful self. In these cases I'm the only person likely to see the code so I guess it works for this particular scenario.

For FOSS projects, I try to write self documenting code, but still try to put some comments in. I'm open to knowing alternative ways to give myself hints on what I was thinking without writing a design document! :-)