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What are Best Coding Practices?

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  • Written By: Troy Holmes
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 21 September 2016
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2016
    Conjecture Corporation
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All computer software development should include the utilization of the best coding practices. These practices are the standards and rules for developing software, which typically includes testing, documentation, format, and style. These standards have slight deviations based on the underlying platform but the concepts should remain the same.

Software development is the creation of automated applications through computer programming. This software code is designed to provide specific tasks based on defined objectives. This process requires proper standards and rules for maintaining the software code of an application. Within software development, best coding practices have been developed and created by the computer science community.

System life-cycle management is the process of managing of the entire life cycle of a specific piece of software. All software development requires proper life-cycle management to include requirements, design, coding, and testing. Typically, best coding practices include proper life-cycle management processes that validate the developed system meets the intended expectations.

Prior to initiating any coding effort, it is critical that the development team agree on the best coding practices that will be implemented within the program. This will ensure the developed software code is easily maintainable and meets the predefined rules set by the organization. The development team should agree on coding style and format as this will help for integration into the overall system environment.

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Software code documentation style is a critical element that is often neglected as a best coding practice. Developers have a tendency to believe that code is self-documented, which will lead to unmanageable code throughout time. At a minimum, all code modules should be documented in an effort to define the intent of the specific module. This documentation will enable future developers some insight on the usage of a specific module.

Automated code review is a highly recommend method of ensuring best coding practices are implemented within the developed software code. This technique uses software that will read and validate the developed code for the predefined standards and rules. These rules can be inclusive of documentation, format and style.

The automated code review program can be designed to proactively review code when it is completed by the developer. This code review process will validate code before it is permitted to be merged with other code modules within the shared environment. Code review is a critical element for successful development endeavors as it ensures code meets the standards defined by the organization.

Automated unit testing is another best coding practice. This is the process of creating automated test scripts that validate the code for specified requirements. These tests are included with the integration process to ensure that code compiles and validates prior to merging with the target environment.

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