How To Measure Code Quality
23 October 2020 5 min read
Software Engineers are in great demand nowadays. Their unique skill sets make them different from the other available professions.
We can never ignore the role of digitalization in our everyday life. Be it Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, or Twitter, all of them are being managed by thousands of Software Engineers.
In short, every application that we use, are being handled by the Software Developers. Basically, all these applications are programmed in some language.
Facebook runs on 62 million lines of code
That is too when we don’t include the backend component. Maintaining such a huge codebase in itself is such a daunting task.
Obviously, there are different teams like the Development Team, Testing Team, QA Team, SRE Team to handle the different kinds of situations. But a thing that remains common in them is that all of them ultimately work and debug the code.
It is therefore very clear that there must be certain standards that must be followed by the developers while writing the code. Now, these standards can vary from one company to another or from one team to the other.
The aggregate of these standards is known as the ‘Code Quality’. For any Software Engineers who are reading this, remember how we in our early days, when we were just beginning to code, gave the inappropriate name to the variables like var a, b, t, etc?
Or do you remember how we used to name our functions- like func1(), func2(), etc? We are sure, you do. But as time progressed and we became more experienced, all these things changed.
We were taught that variable naming should always make some sense and should highlight the particular thing that it is referring to and functions should always be named in such a way that it should give another person the hint that what this piece of code is trying to do. This is an example of code quality.
Now, maintaining good code quality comes with 3 advantages:
i) Knowledge Transfer or more commonly known as KT becomes easier.
ii) It is not very tough for the new joiners to understand and make sense of the codebase.
iii) Debugging and Troubleshooting becomes a lot easier.
In this article, we will discuss ‘How to measure the code quality’ and make sure your code follows the industry standards.
Beginning here, we would like to clarify what is meant by ‘good quality code’. All the applications that are developed by the Software Engineers are to meant to be used by the end-user/the client. Now, the end-user or the client has certain requirements that must be satisfied by the application.
We only talk about the ‘code quality’ once these requirements are met and the client is completely satisfied. Otherwise, no matter how good is your style of writing the code, the code will always be termed as ‘low-quality code’.
There are certain metrics that are used to measure code quality. These are:
Maintainability in terms of code quality means how easy is to make changes in the codebase and the amount of risk associated with it. Some changes that the developer estimated can be made in a few hours, if it takes around 2 days to make, implements, and push the change, then probably the code is not that maintainable. On the other hand, if the changes can be pushed without little or no hiccups, then certainly the codebase can be called ‘Maintainable’.
The application is finally used by the end-user. Any bug in the application can actually demotivate the user further from using the app. Therefore, emphasis must be laid on proper testing of the application. It must be made sure by the QA and testing team that the code passes all the test cases and the corner cases. With that being said, there is no program that is free of bugs. But, these bugs must be fixed at regular intervals so as to give the end-user a trouble-free experience.
Documentation is one of the most important factors that is taken into consideration while measuring the code quality. It helps other developers understand the working of the code. Even, it is useful for the author as well. No one will remember how he/she implemented a function after let’s say 3 months. Therefore, documentation serves as a good point to refer to and understand the working of the code. Another good reason for documentation is that it actually helps to improve the application design. When documenting the code, the author thinks about different components and why he/she used that and therefore can cut down on certain parts of the code if it not useful.
The efficiency of a code is generally measured in terms of Time Complexity and Space Complexity. An efficient code must be able to execute in as little time as possible and consuming the least possible memory. A slow application generally distracts the end-user, hence, efficiency is the first thing developers look forward to when working with any application.
There are some quantitative measures of Code Quality as well which include Weighted Micro Function Points, Halstead Complexity Measures, and Cyclomatic Complexity, however, we won’t be going into much detail over here.
How To Measure Code Quality Infographic
Duecode is an analytics dashboard for your code projects and is a useful tool for non-tech managers like the CEO, COO, etc. It aggregates historical git data and provides some valuable insights into the higher management about the engineering team’s workflow pattern.
The best thing about Duecode is that you don’t have to be a technical person to understand ‘Code Quality’. It provides information like a user by user code commits, ticket, and pull request which easily can be used by the C-Level managers to keep the code quality as per the industry standards.
Be sure to check it out, if you haven’t done already.
We hope you like this article and this has been given you some valuable insights which will help you in your career. Code Quality is surely one of the underrated skills out there but a developer who believes and implements good Code Quality measures will certainly stand out from the rest. Happy coding :)
Want to learn more about code quality? Take a look at the "Complete Code Quality Guide".