New Research Shows Dramatic Impact of Style and Form on Code Maintainability

Academic researchers are catching up to what coder intuition inferred long ago:

  • that the formatting of our code has a huge demonstrable effect on the productivity of the people who have to maintain it after us.
  • that using surprising or ‘clever’ notation (where a clearer syntax would suit) has an even bigger effect. And don’t persuade yourself that your code is ‘optimized’ rather than merely opaque. PREMATURE OPTIMIZATION IS THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL.

The full study is here, but academics continue to practice (job-) security-by-obscurity, so I don’t recommend actually reading the thing. 

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