While reading through Clean Code today, I was surprised to reach the end. Even though there were 80 or so pages left in the digital version of the book, they were all appendix and index. So today is the “what have we learned day.”
Keep It Sharp
One of the most common stories about self improvement is the story of the man felling a tree. Usually this man has a saw or an axe and is working very hard but making little progress. A friend comes by and notices the tool is very dull. When this is pointed out, the man felling the tree usually says that he does not have time to sharpen his axe because he has to get this tree down. Most people can see the irony that if he would spend a little time keeping the axe sharp, the tree would be down quicker.
This is the point of reading books and doing other forms of continuous education. As creators and designers we need to keep our skills sharp so we can be more effective.
The essence of Clean Code is summarized nicely in its last chapter called “Code Smells.” It gives a list of heuristics of “smells” that, if you find them in your code, can be warning signs of poor code design.
Importance of Clean Code
One of the most beneficial things that I have gotten from learning how to write cleaner code is being able to come back to code I wrote a week ago and more easily pick up where I left off. Sometimes life happens and I don’t get the opportunity to work on my games every day. And one of the things I noticed as I was reading this book was a lot of the time as I tried to make games quick and with my limited time, I sacrificed a lot of code cleanliness.
And this is ok. But what I did not do, and what is very important to do is go back and clean up or refactor that original code. Otherwise your pace will start to slow down as you dig through to find what that function does and have to rewrite that other one to handle some new case. You will be trying to chop the tree down with a dull axe.
So Sharpen Yourself
Knowing that you need to stay sharp doesn’t do a whole lot. You have to actually take the time to read, to watch and to learn. If you write any code at all, I would recommend reading through Clean Code if you haven’t already. And if you have, read it again.
Even if you never plan on writing code, just the principles that help keep code clean will help you keep designs clean.
10/10 Would recommend reading.