Software maintenance is concerned with correcting errors found after the software has been delivered and adapting the software to changing requirements, changing environments and other changing facts. Software maintenance is hard because even after deployment, software systems may need to undergo changes such as to fix problems or improve the system.
Software maintenance is a crucial, but critical, activity in the life cycle of a system. It’s often harder to maintain a system than to develop it. But it’s even harder to design a maintainable system, because it’s hard to predict all future changes. In a software lifetime, Software maintenance may change dependent on its nature. It might be only a normal maintenance task as some bug discovered by some users or it might be an expansive event in itself dependent on maintenance size or nature. Developing a maintainable software is very important to avoid by turning large applications into unmanageable messes that nobody wants to touch.
To develop maintainable software, it is very important to write maintainable code. By keeping source code maintainable, anyone can do any required changes or fix bugs without making the system collapse down. It would not be a complicated exercise to writing a clean and understandable code for any software developer. Below are some principles and practices that can be used to write maintainable code.
- Use meaningful Names
It is a very simple and effective way to use meaning full names for everything you include in the code. On the database level, there are names for databases, tables, columns, stored procedures and other database objects. On the project level, there are names for solutions, projects, folders, and files. On the class or component level, there are names for classes, methods, fields and properties. On the method implementation level, there are names for parameters and variables. That is not an exhaustive list, but there is an idea to where you need to use meaningful names inside the code.
The main effect of using meaningful names is that it helps to reduce the cognitive load of figuring out what exactly the project, folder or unit of the code is about. This leads the software to a more maintainable level by reducing the time of going through all the implementations to find a single unit of the code.
- Add Comments to the code
It is important to comment on the code to reduce the time wastage to go through each and every line of the code to understand why that was used. Commenting is a skill that helps to write maintainable code. writing too much of code and using a bombastic language is not making your code maintainable because understanding what you actually meant will not be an easy job later. Writing too shortcode is also not a good solution and adding meaningless comments also will turn against you.
- Keep small codebase
It makes sense that the less code you have, the less there is to maintain. If you can use existing libraries or functions for the places you need it is better to use them other than re-writing the same stuff again and again.
Code refactoring is the process of changing existing code without changing its function. This helps to reduce complexity, improve readability or eliminate repetition. This is a very important task when it comes to keeping software maintainable and also it is the most difficult.
- Fix the problem, not the feature
The difference between instant solutions and smart fixes is that the first situation happens when a developer chooses to change the feature and not fix the issue. Smart fixes happen when the developer understands the reason for the bug and figures out how to pinpoint it, everything done in a hurry will just make mistaking code for the next individual to clean up.
Those explained tips will help you to save time and money by keeping your code simple and clear. Clean code always leads to develop a maintainable software system. If the person who works with a code you’ve composed wants to write it again from the beginning, you are not writing maintainable code. Before you approach how might this benefit you, the appropriate response is this: the beauty of code is depending on each person’s preferences.