Java - the base stone for programming software

By Vlad Ciontescu, a Java enthusiast

Last year I attended for the first time a Java community meeting – Devoxx Belgium. It is probably the best place to learn about software development methodologies, programming software, change ideas, promote projects and above all, get inspired. I gathered a new set of information about the possibilities that new technologies bring and left with a head full of ideas that I still think about experimenting with. Still, the most important things that I left with are the connection with the network found there and the concept of clean code that is the base for creating programming software.

The best part - the network

I’ll let you know about most of the things that tickled my fancy – which will bring us back to Java. I have a few inspiring ideas that run around my head into a short and clear perspective. Keep in mind that my preferences were highly influenced by the speakers. Also, I choose sessions that aim to help me in my professional development.

My favorite part of the show was by far the network that this kind of conference brings to life. The community formed by the dedicated developers leaves you with a set of intentions. And even more important it gives you the opportunity to be in the same room with most of the key persons. They work hard to take programming software, technologies, and software development methodologies to another level.

To many of the burning questions, I found answers somewhere in those rooms. Surrounded by other Java enthusiasts, I found them either in a talk or even in the middle of lunch with people of who’s mindsets and interests align.

Firstly, I am keen on many ideas that I previously encountered in different online talks and articles. This also means that I went to Devoxx with a set of insecurities and problems I wanted to solve.

Clean code and unit testing in programming software

The most important part of the conference was getting my mind blown away by all the things brought to life by Victor Rentea with his unique, energetic and full of passion style of presentation in subjects like clean code and unit testing.

Here is what I found most useful from these topics:

1. Clean code

The biggest problem encountered by devs is that code is read 10 times more often than it’s written in the programming software. Most of us can’t recall exactly how and why parts of the code were written in a certain way, and here is where these simple rules may come in handy:

  • The naming of variables, methods, and classes: clear naming is mandatory.
  • Methods should be short (one page in the IDE – 20 lines of code or preferably less).
  • Methods should not have more than three parameters.
  • Parameters should not be of type Boolean – at least not used as flags to request alternative behaviors of the method.
  • Methods that return a result should not have side effects; methods that return null can have a side effect; make clear in the name of the method what that side effect is.
  • Comments in code should rarely be used – the code should speak for itself. However, comments that reveal a workaround for non-trivial issues and bugs are valuable. Or that explains a special corner case.
  • (serious) Peer reviews should ensure that code does speak for itself.

2. Unit testing

Probably the biggest challenge of a developer. What does this solve? It mostly eliminates the fear induced by breaking the functionality while modifying or refactoring a legacy/ugly code. Even though unit testing introduces an overhead in the software development methodologies and process, the time spent on testing and bug fixing can be drastically reduced.

Scratching the surface - programming software

What I’ve written above just scratched the surface of what Devoxx has to offer for many developers around the world in terms of software development methodologies, programming software, and inspiration. As I said in the beginning, I’ve gone to Devoxx to find some answers and get rid of my insecurities and this is exactly what Victor’s talks did. I highly recommend watching Victor’s deep dive on clean code and also try some coding katas and why not get out of your comfort zone and do some TDD – Test Driven Development (satisfaction guaranteed).

I managed to overcome big insecurity in refactoring code written by developers with more experience than me and I also got inspired to challenge myself to try and implement some functionalities using TDD methodologies.

Devoxx is definitely a place to be present if you’re a Java developer.

About the author: Vlad Ciotescu is one our Java devs working on developing the best software solutions for our Enterprise solutions business line.

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