Thursday, 22 December 2011

Of Comments And Panties...

Code comments are like underwear: people can't see them, but they really should be there, and it's best if you keep them clean. And brief.

Oh, and it's never as funny as you think it is, if they contain references to Homer Simpson.

Here's an article I wrote for All Things Oracle about commenting in programming. (Un)fortunately, it contains no further references to underwear. I apologise.

80% of all communication, it is often said, is nonverbal. The actual percentage is disputed – with experts quoting figures that range from 50% all the way up to 93% – but what is not in dispute is the fact that what is left unspoken is often as important as what is said.
An almost direct parallel can be drawn with comments in code. Annotations aimed at the programmer but ignored by the compiler can be as important as actual functional code and should be treated with a comparable level of seriousness.
Should be treated with seriousness; however, unfortunately, they almost never are. Most programmers will confess that their commenting is, at best, patchy and often non-existent. The excuses run from the threadbare to the clich├ęd; from “I do not have enough time to comment” to “Good code is self-explanatory”.
Fewer programmers will admit to this, but a lack of knowledge of the many uses – and the power  – of commenting is widespread.  That is what this article intends to address.
Continue reading at All Things Oracle