The 5 Hallmarks of Excellent Code

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The 5 Hallmarks of Excellent Code

I mean, it’s easy to get taken in by the word “the best.” The problem with the “the best” is that what’s best for somebody might not be all that good to you. In fact, it might turn out to be quite horrible. It really all boils down to our personal set of circumstances. Everybody’s different. Everybody has distinct experiences.

So, how exactly do we come up with excellent code? In the many years I’ve been struggling with this issue, I’ve learned to quickly separate objective from subjective elements. The subjective elements of terms like “excellence” or “the best” are already covered above. What follows are objective hallmarks you should use in determining whether you’ve cranked out excellent code or not. Now, this is probably not going to be enough to satisfy purists but be as it may, it at least gives us a workable starting point.

This is the most basic criteria.

It Does the Job

Either something does the job, or it doesn’t. You know somebody’s just blowing smoke up your backside when they keep telling you about its potential, or they can keep telling you its potential or they keep telling you how important that code is. Well, let me tell you, none of that matters if it doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do. It doesn’t get any more basic than that because, hey, let’s face it, the world judges you not based on your emotions, your feelings, your intentions, your motivations. None of that matters.

What matters is the work you do and the results you get. Always remember that. You might think you have the potential to being the best coder in the world but if your work doesn’t reflect that impression, then you’re just wasting time.

It's another to do it well

It Does the Job Well

It’s one thing for a software to do a job; it’s another to do it well. Keep these tow concepts separate in your mind. There is a difference. Just because something performs doesn’t mean it performs well enough. You have to have standards. Simply getting something to work is not enough. You have to swing for the fences.

You might be congratulating yourself

It Does the Job Fast

At this point, you probably already have code that performs and does a good job, and you might be patting yourself on the back. You might be congratulating yourself and thinking, “Okay, I’m out of the woods. I’ve cranked out something extra.” Well, not so fast, buddy. Considering that there are many other alternative solutions out there in the marketplace, coding ideas and coding implementations understand that you will be judged based on the overall quality of your work and, sadly, speed is a function of quality. Do yourself a big favor and tighten up the code so it does the job as fast as possible. The faster, the better.