Importance of Code Quality and Various Attributes, Measurements and Tools to Implement Them

A very popular expression in the software industry is time is money; something clearly shows the impeccable speed demanded by the current software development market and the terrifying race developers has to endure each day. Writing, testing, debugging and multiples updates, the pressure mounted for early release or delivery, taking an easy way out often seems the sole option concentrating only on providing the basic functionalities promised to the clients. But with the resultant software with poor quality code becomes hard to maintain leading into further difficulties in future in the form of updation, complicating to resolve the bugs and adding new features or any other changes, ultimately may cause/ leads to/results in a considerable loss and damage in future. So engaging in a quality code development endeavor is absolutely crucial and surely rewarding in the long term purview of the business and profit generation when it comes to software development.

What is the Code Quality and How to achieve quality code?

An efficient software delivering faster performance reliable and secure satisfying all the requirements and optimizing the operations are normally the goal of software development. Good quality codes ensure that completely along with making it easier to fix any errors or simply introduce alterations to accommodate the changing requirements and the technology. Code quality can be measured in multiple ways. But some significant attributes of a quality code are efficiency, reliability, robustness, portability, maintainability and readability.

Efficiency

The efficiency of the source code determines the overall performance of the software. The target is to minimize the resource consumption and produce a lean and reusable code eliminating the redundancy and removing unnecessary code with appropriate data types, functions and looping in the right places.

Reliability

Reliability, another undeniable core asset of a quality code demands seamless functioning of the product without any error successfully in every environment. A reliable code will lead to the same outcome every time it receives the same input in the same environment. The only way to ensure code reliability is by conducting rigorous testing and frequent code reviews. The code reliability largely depends on how well the bugs are resolved and exceptions are handled by the dedicated developers.

Portability

Portability is another important aspect that identifies a quality code. Portability can be defined as the character of a code that makes it capable of running in different technological environments. A code possesses portability will work in different devices and in different platforms as effectively as the ideal platform or/ and the devices it was developed originally. There will be no need to write code for each platform from scratch contributing a huge time and effort. Generally, it is better to plan the support for the multiple platforms before start the coding and developing code that can work efficiently in every possible technological environment can help

Robustness

Robustness can be described as the ability of the code accommodates unusual situations and inputs elegantly. Such as if the users put wrong inputs clear and easy to understand error messages should be generated. The only way to obtain robustness is to tests the code intensively in every condition possible, usual and unusual both.

Maintainability

Maintainability of code is something that determines how easy it will be to include new features, alter the existing ones and/or mend the errors putting least efforts without the chances of affecting the related modules and functionalities. Resolving bugs, adding new features and making changes to adapt to the new technological environment is a continuous process in software development. So the source code must be easy to read and easy to understand to locate the piece of code to be modified easily and also, it must be easy check if the alteration has created any additional issues. Maintainability can be achieved through implementing the coding best practices like following proper naming conventions for class names, methods and variables. The code can be easily understandable if produced following proper indentation and formatting style possessing thorough technical documentation which makes it easier to maintain.

Readability

Readability of code is again is a critical attribute that enables any developer to quickly and easily understand the code even if the developer has not been acquainted with it well. A clear code with proper naming convention and comments improve the readability and makes it easier to understand the code. Any future work with the code base become easier with it, whether maintainability, issue navigation whatever is in consideration. The changes, updation can be done investing less time and effort with easily readable code.

There are some common coding best practices which will lead to better quality code:

  • Every method, function and logic should have proper comments.
  • Get rid of the unused commented code that has been created during the coding.
  • Creating a generalized and reusable code is always preferable.
  • Proper data types and names must be used for properties, methods, variables, and classes.
  • Use proper casting only when it is really required
  • As the loops affect the performance significantly it is better to avoid it altogether or opt for other alternatives.
  • To achieve a clean architecture it is better to use basic or fundamental loops as much as possible.
  • Conduct frequent code reviews. Especially once the functionality, page or modules are finished, conduct a code review.

The tools and extension to achieve code quality code

Also, there are some common tools and extensions that can be very useful in creating quality code following the appropriate standard and style. These tools and extensions generally provide suggestions for refactoring the code or the methods.

Some popular names of such code quality tools are:

SonarLint:

An open source IDE extension SonarLint assist in detecting as well as mending the quality issues of the code by diagnosing the defects and deficiencies so they can be checked and cured before submitting the code.

The features include:

  • Bug detection: It reveals common mistakes, tricky bugs and known vulnerabilities with the help of the thousands of rules.
  • Instant feedback: Errors and issues are detected and also reported immediately like a spell checking tool.
  • Accurate Location and suggestion: SonarLint accurately locates the position where the problem resides and provides possible recommendations or solutions for fixing it too.
  • Opportunity to improve: The Clear code helps to understand the issues more accurately and also improve the coding standards.
  • Identify already existing issues: With SonarLink old issues can be identified and fixed before submitting the code.

SonarQube

SonarQube, formerly known as Sonar is again an open source tool kit that makes developers analyze and maintain the quality of the source code. Though originally developed in Java it can be used for analyzing code in about 20 different programming languages.

The features of SonarQube are:

  • Continuous Inspection
  • SonarQube possesses the capability to determine and exhibit the status of the health of an application along with highlighting issues that emerged.  
  • Detect complicated Issues
  • SonarQube Code analyzers are endowed with powerful path sensitive data flow engines able to detect complex issues such as null-pointers dereferences, logic errors, or resource leaks.
  • Centralize Quality
  • It provides a single platform to execute the shared vision of code quality for programmers, tech leads, managers and executives in the management for all the projects.
  • DevOps Integration
  • SonarQube is able to integrate with the entire DevOps tool chain including the build systems, CI engines, promotion pipeline by utilizing webhooks and its comprehensive RestAPI.

StyleCop

StyleCop analyzes and maintains the consistency of the code by administering a specific set of rules to follow while coding and can be integrated with many third-party development code quality tools. Such as it can be implemented inside the Visual Studio or integrated into MSBuild project.

StyleCop offers a different set of rules which is implemented to the code and also offers the opportunity to customize them according to the requirements. Here are the set of rules:

  • Documentation
  • Layout
  • Maintainability
  • Naming
  • Ordering
  • Readability
  • Spacing

StyleCop can be added to a project through the NuGet package manager.

Codacy

An automated code analysis tool which performs static code review analysis to your present code to identify different issues; the code security, code coverage, code duplication, and code complexity, and notified about them instantly through the push results as comments or slack messages providing a comprehensive review of the code health by offering quality analysis for every pull request.

Codacy empowers the developers to incorporate better quality standards, security best practices, capable of integrating perfectly with the workflow in Github or Bitbucket it enables the developers to handle their technical debt better by exhibiting the code quality and also, depicting its evolution throughout the project makes developers able to take better actions and improve the code. Currently, Codacy is supporting 28 programming languages and it also offers to customize the quality standards according to your project convenience making it an excellent tool to create better and faster development by producing and committing quality code.

ReSharper

Re Sharper provides On-the-fly code quality analysis in a variety of languages including XAML, CSS, C#, ASP.NET, VB.NET, TypeScript, JavaScript, HTML, and XML. ReSharper enables the developers to understand if the code can be developed practically, alert about the problems persist in the code and also present numerous quick fixes to resolve them automatically. It also possesses different types of extensions/tools to execute various kind of checks on the existing code.

In short a good quality, clean, clear, and lean code is essential for the reliable, robust and excellent quality software development which will be flexible and able to accommodate changes easily in future complementing the fast-evolving technology and business scenario. It needs considerable expertise as well as experience to implement quality software development with quality code and skilled professionals with industry knowledge can only achieve it. Webmatrix Technologies has been designing, developing and deploying numerous projects across the verticals in different platforms successfully satisfying clients around the globe. So in need of quality software development containing quality coding and strict adherence to the standards and guidelines contact us today. Email us at sales@webmatrixtech.com and we will be happy to help you with any queries and suggestions.