Good code is like a love letter to the developer who will support it

Good code is like a love letter to the developer who will support it

We often romanticize the very concept of programming, presenting it as a form of abstract art, science, or even some kind of magic. In fact, the truth has a much more practical and down-to-earth appearance. Code is inherently a form of communication. Early

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In “Learning Design Patterns in JavaScript” I write: “Good code is like a love letter to the next programmer who will maintain it.” This is a personal correspondence of one developer with another that overcomes time and space boundaries.

A love letter has a personal character, it is written with sincerity and attention to the feelings of the addressee. It is a poetic expression of feelings, most often written with carefully chosen words and with the intention of accurately conveying emotions. Good code has a lot to do with this description. It also has a personal character because it reflects the logic and approach of the writer. Good code is straightforward, not burdened with unnecessary complexity. It is written taking into account the interests of the developer who will decipher it. And, most importantly, it is prescribed very carefully, with the aim of solving the task with maximum efficiency.

In language, we have grammatical rules and linguistic structures that allow us to express feelings and combine words into meaningful sentences. Similarly, programmers have certain design patterns and programming principles that allow them to shape code. Patterns not only communicate scalability and efficiency in solving tasks to the code, make it easy to maintain, but also make it easier to read and understand. They provide developers with a common vocabulary, thereby enabling them to convey the device of the most intelligent programs in the form of structures that are known everywhere.

Good code, then, uses these structures strategically, just as a skilled poet uses poetic devices to evoke an emotional response. Patterns are used in it not just as an end in themselves, but because they bring additional value to the solution, make the code easier to understand and contribute to the long life of the code base.

SOLID, DRY, KISS and YAGNI are not just principles, they are the foundation of good code. They guide the developer to smart decisions, help him balance over-complexity with under-complexity, and ultimately form a “love letter” that the recipient will appreciate.

Also, good code follows generally accepted best practices, just as a love letter follows certain rules of etiquette. Appropriate naming styles, modularization, and careful commenting are all best practices. These aren’t just rules to follow, they’re norms that show how much care the next developer should give the code (or, in other words, the person who wrote it). These norms exist than to prevent the loss of the written meaning in the process of transmission.

The author of the letter will definitely check it for errors, and the developer should follow this example in working on the code. Perfect testing and TDD practices are the hallmarks of a masterfully written “love letter.” Tests test the code’s performance in various scenarios, identifying potential weaknesses and blind spots. Having a good testing framework is often a sign of high code quality.

The central component of a love letter that stands above all others is empathy and respect for the recipient. The same goes for good code. Writing code that others can easily read, understand, and maintain is one way to show respect in a professional field. This shows that the developer understands that his work is part of a larger continuous activity, that the program is a living, evolving organism, and that many people will have a hand in shaping its destiny at various stages.

After all, programming is a creative act, comparable to poetry or painting. The beauty of our creations, however, is determined by the elegance of the applied algorithms or efficiency in solving tasks, and whether others can easily and happily complement what we have done. Our mission as developers is not only to solve today’s problems, but also to ensure that we ourselves do not become tomorrow’s problem.

Thus, good code is not only a love letter, but also a legacy that will be left behind for those who follow.

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