Read code to write better code
3 min read
Are you curious about how to write better code? One key way to improve your coding skills is by reading and understanding code written by others.
When you read code, you can acquire new problem-solving strategies and approaches. You may also learn more about best practices and industry standards. Reading code may also provide insight into how different systems and libraries function, which is very useful when dealing with new technologies.
You may enhance your problem-solving abilities, become a better programmer, and learn new programming languages and technologies by reading code. You'll also be able to produce better code if you grasp how code is written and arranged.
When browsing source code in the IDE, one of the most important aspects of reading code is to assess mental (cognitive) overload. You'll be astonished at how much cognitive work is required to comprehend it, even for simple problems. This will also affect your coding abilities as you learn how much work it takes to develop a readable codebase.
So, next time you're working on a coding project, take some time to also read and understand other people's code. It's a valuable way to improve your skills and write even better code in the future.
In this blog post, we'll explore the benefits of reading code and provide tips on how to approach it to gain the most benefit.
Understanding Code Structure:
Reading code can help you understand the structure of the code you're working on. By identifying key elements such as functions, classes, and modules, you can better understand how the code is organized and how it works. When approaching code to understand its structure, try to focus on the overall flow of the code and how different pieces interact with each other. Some tips for identifying key elements of code structure include:
Inspect function and class definitions.
Try to make a mental model of the overall code.
Draw a diagram of function calls.
Learning Best Practices:
Reading code can also help you learn the best practices for writing it. This can include things like naming conventions, commenting, and code organization. When approaching code to learn best practices, try to focus on the details of the code and how it's written. Some tips for identifying best practices when reading code include:
Look for consistent naming conventions.
Look for well-written comments.
Look for organized and readable code.
Improving Problem-Solving Skills:
Reading code can also help you improve your problem-solving skills. By seeing how other programmers have approached problems and solved them, you can learn new techniques and approaches that you can apply to your own work. When approaching code to improve your problem-solving skills, try to focus on the logic and flow of the code. Some tips for identifying problem-solving techniques when reading code include:
Solved a specific problem, for example, Paxos
See how people have solved the memory problem in the case of large dataset manipulation, e.g., with pandas.
Look for code that uses libraries or frameworks to solve a problem.
In conclusion, reading code is an important part of being a programmer. By understanding code structure, learning best practices, and improving problem-solving skills, you can become a better programmer. Make reading code a regular part of your workflow, and you'll be sure to see the benefits.