List of some Tips to improve your coding and Debugging skills
This post contains some neglected points during programming that developers are mostly reluctant to follow. In my experience some of the most complex projects become uncontrollable due to bad code and wrong programming practices, which further leads to direction-less debugging, hence takes more than expected time to figure out reasons of the problems. Here are some tips to improve your coding and debugging skills and to make you a better developer.
Test Thoroughly: We generally assume that the piece of code we have written would be working fine on every machine and environment. Don’t keep this kind of attitude just test in detail before you pass on the code to the test engineer or deploy it code customer’s testing.
Create Log Files: This is one of the most basic and most useful practice to debug your code later on. It should be a mandatory practice. You can track logs of every execution so you can analyze the changes happening inside the program at run-time. Other than using logging facility i.e. creating and using Log Files, you can print values or other things in a console as well. But at the end, it a good practice if you use Log Files for perfect monitoring. Use a standard log library to control what you log in developer versus production environment.
Think before coding: This is missing mostly as programmers directly start writing the code. Before that think about the classes you will need, methods and their purpose, primary logic, queries etc. Create a prototype structure of the same and then write code.
Refactoring: Rather than writing the code and later on at some stage refactoring it, better is to write a refactored code from the beginning. Shorter reusable methods make it easy to understand and debug code.
Unit Testing: Testing each function for positive and negative inputs may be time-consuming but doing such improves the code quality and robustness. Unit testing is done by the developer because it requires more detailed knowledge of application logic.
Organize / Indent your code: Indent your code because an indented code is easier to read, easier to understand, easier to modify, easier to maintain, easier to enhance, hence easier to find an error and debug them. Use visual structures to indicate code blocks. Add comments where logic is complex. Also try putting spaces between a variable name and an operator such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and even the equal sign. We need to understand that programming is not only to solve the problem but the art of coding is also involved here.
Debug Other’s Code: To improve one’s debugging skills, one must go through the code written by other developers, try to help those who are stuck in debugging a problem. One can easily find problems/mistakes in other’s code rather than in own code because of code writer tests with the mentality that code was written properly. So, developing this ability will, later on, improve your own coding ability to write bug-free code and to recognize the common reasons of defects. In the same way, take help from others while debugging your own code.
Expand Your Knowledge: Every time you start writing code in any language, first search for the updated language version and new changes that came along with it. Learn, understand and explore these changes then start writing the code with updated syntax and features of the language. It will improve your knowledge, keep you up to date with the language and of course the code will be up to date. Hence leading you to a bug-free clean code.