How to Write Beautiful Code

Writing code is similar to writing poetry. When everything comes together in harmony, it’s both fulfilling and beautiful. Like poetry, simply clashing a few unrelated words does not make a poem. Each word has to be selected carefully so that they feel good together. The same thing applies to code.

Beautiful code is simple yet elegant, as well as clear and concise. There should be balance and rhythm in the structure and definition of loops and conditionals. Each function’s intent should shine through, showing a particular pattern in the interaction and creation of the methods and classes by combining all the elements into a beautiful and coherent unit. 

Beautiful code should also be concise, with no endless conditionals and wasted variable, which makes it not only comfortable and pleasurable to read but also communicate the intent and ideas of the programmer. Maintaining quality is even more important in enterprise software development, and if your company offers similar services, you better make sure that the programmers are coding beautifully

But how do we write beautiful code? 

Keep It Simple

Less is more. It’s a principle that applies to many things in life, including writing code. A beautiful code requires refactoring effort to eliminate redundancy and refine the content so it becomes as brief, understandable, and concise as possible. 

At some point in the software development cycle, each line of code needs to be debugged, and this can be time-consuming and costly if the code was not written beautifully. A conscious effort has to be made to reduce the code while still preserving its functionality. 

For instance, if a particular method contains ten statements, you can minimize it to five. The probability of issues cropping up is reduced by half since there are fewer places the statement can be problematic, overly complicated, or simply wrong. Think of source code as a liability instead of an asset.

There should be a good reason for each line of code to existing; else, it needs to be deleted or refactored. Each piece has a single, distinct representation and purpose within the system. Ironically, simplification can be a quite complex undertaking, but it can, and should be done if you want to write beautiful code.

Maintain Quality

Bugs, in real life and coding, can make developers cringe. It’s a given fact that great programmers write bug-free code. It’s even obligatory for developers to write a bug-free program, as much as they possibly can, anyway. But not all strive for bug-free code-writing, which is the geeky term for beautiful code. Most developers focus their efforts on writing bug-free code by putting functionality above design prior to the program gets compiled and executed.

If you ignore maintainability and neglect standards and patterns for functionality’s sake, you might find yourself in an expensive disaster. Another common problem with programmers is that they tend to overthink code efficiency early on in the development cycle. This premature optimization might open a can of worms and delay the project much further.

All programmers can write code that works, but it takes a good one to write a code that will stand the test of time. A beautiful code ensures that bug fixing will be a breeze since detecting and locating them is more straightforward. Also, since you’re not compromising architecture, it becomes cheaper to resolve bugs.

Brilliant and Refined Algorithms

When you want to describe steps to solving a particular problem systematically, you create an algorithm. Analytical and logic skills might be left-brain activities, but problem-solving is mostly done on the right side because it’s a creative process. 

Great algorithms should avoid unnecessary complexity and detail yet remain organized for a more efficient tackling of computational tasks. Some essential algorithm strategies you might want to consider in your codebase are good resource utilization, using regular expressions precisely, smart data structure selection, innovative combinatory methods, and simplified Boolean algebra.

Coding Style

Not only should the code be well-designed and simple, but it should also look good aesthetically. Good programmers are remembered more for their discipline and style than the code itself. That’s why they take the time to format and polish their codes well. 

Code should not be written only for machines or computers to execute. When written beautifully, other programmers will find reading and deciphering it easier prior to reviewing, extending, correcting, refactoring, or debugging. 

To sum it all up, beautiful code should be easy to read as well as it is to comprehend. There should be a balance between functionality and aesthetics, and its architecture, shape, and structure should reveal its intent. Each small part should have a single purpose and fit perfectly together, yet can quickly be taken apart when a problematic element needs to be fixed.

Nathaniel Villa
Nathaniel Villa