On Comments In Code


On Comments In Code

In software engineering, code extends beyond mere instructions for computers. By 2024, high-level programming languages have made code a crucial medium for developer communication. It’s both a technical and communicative tool, conveying messages, ideas, and processes, with the coder’s skill determining its clarity. Code, at its core, is akin to any other form of text.

Comments in code are invaluable in certain situations. For example, when dealing with unavoidable bugs in external frameworks. In such a case, a comment that explains the workaround and includes a link to the bug report can clarify the situation for other engineers, showing that the unusual code is a temporary fix for an issue outside the programmer’s control.

Conversely, comments that extensively detail what the code does or why could indicate a problem, often revealing an overreliance on natural language due to a gap in coding proficiency.

Quality code

Quality code is inherently self-explanatory, clear, concise, and well-structured, reducing the need for explanatory comments. This practice not only challenges developers to enhance their coding skills but also empowers them.

Comments should illuminate rather than explain; they should answer “why” something is done, not “how”. They are the last resort, used sparingly, when the code’s intent or function isn’t immediately clear from the code or unit tests.

Investing in meaningful names and logical structure can significantly enhance code readability and maintainability. Such practices ensure that the code speaks for itself, making it more accessible to future contributors.

This philosophy underscores the essence of coding as an art form — one where elegance, clarity, and intention play pivotal roles. By promoting self-explanatory code, we not only streamline our codebases but also foster a culture of precision and clarity in software development.

Let’s respect our craft

As we navigate the complexities of coding, let us remember: the strongest code narratives are those that stand confidently on their own, with comments reserved for moments when a gentle nudge towards understanding is needed.

Let’s respect our craft, celebrating the beauty of code that communicates clearly and effectively, minimizing the need for external commentary.

Written by: Sviatoslav Siurin

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