Friday, May 15, 2009

Coding styles that make me twitch, part 1

We'll see how long this particular series gets.

I'll try to come up with some example of coding styles that annoy me, and post about it.

First off is the appended conditional at the end of long one-line Swiss knife code snippets:

my @var = sort { length($b) <=> length($a) } split /[-.,_+ ]/ , $input{longvariablename} if defined $input{longvariablename} && length $input{longvariablename} > 4;

(Yes, that's supposed to be one line, though it doesn't look like it.)

Please, pretty please, don't append conditionals at the end of long one-liners.

Really, just don't, m'kaaay.

Code should, unless it's a one-off one-liner in your shell prompt, be maintainable for others. "Others" includes yourself some time in the future, when you've forgotten what the (insert mst-inspired expletives here) you were thinking at the time you coded the stuff.

The above example isn't particularly complex, or difficult to understand, but it's all on one line, and hardly is easy to parse even if you've got that 170 char wide window to code in.

A few parentheses, a helper variable and a few more lines -- preferably keeping well within 80 columns -- surely won't hurt that badly.

my $lvn = $input{longvariablename};
if (defined $lvn && length($lvn) > 4) {
my @var = sort { length($b) <=> length($a) }
split (/[-.,_+ ]/, $lvn);

Of course, these are just my personal opinions, and I won't be knocking on your door with a baseball bat in hand if you don't do as I suggest.

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