Long Code vs. Short Code: What’s Better for My Use Case?

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Long Code vs. Short Code: What’s Better for My Use Case?

Decide whether to use long code or short code when programming your JavaScript application with these tips.

· Performance Zone ·
Free Resource

Successfully programming an application requires an ingenious mix of lines of code that combine to bring life and versatility to the application. You’ll need to make several decisions while attempting to find solutions to a bigger set of problems.

Kuzzmi, who has more than seven years of web development experience and currently teaches people how to create successful web applications, says that “the decision whether to use long lines of code or short lines of code depends on a developer’s skill set, desires, and anticipated results.”

So, between long code and short code, which one should you go for when building an application?

Here are three factors that will assist you to make the best decision.

1. How Readable Is Your Code?

Martin Fowler, a renowned British software developer, once said that “any fool can write code that a computer can understand. Good programmers write code that humans can understand.”

When developing your application, you should write the lines of code with the people in mind—even if the computer will process them without caring whether you used many or fewer lines of code.

Writing many lines of code make your program easier to read, maintain, and interpret, especially if you are collaborating with other developers.

It will also assist you to make reference in case you need to make adjustments to your code in future. What if you restrict yourself to using short versions of code and you discover that you cannot understand what you wrote six months from now?

On the other hand, fewer lines of code can be difficult to understand, which can affect effective collaboration with other developers.

For example, here is a shorthand JavaScript code for performing null, undefined, and empty checks on variables:

if (variableOne !== null || variableOne !== undefined || variableOne !== '') {
    let variableTwo = variableOne;

Here is the shorthand version:

let variableTwo = variableOne || '';

As much as the second version is easier and faster to write, it could be difficult to interpret, especially when working with beginner coders in a team.

Therefore, you should take into consideration the readability of your code more than the extent of the lines of code used in the application.

2. What Are Your Efficiency Expectations?

Arguably, writing fewer lines of code could result in better efficiency for your application than using longer code.

If you spread your code over numerous lines, you could increase the number of locations for the bugs to hide. Ultimately, finding and removing them could be more problematic.

Lowering the amount of code in your program could reduce the bug count and make you spend less sleepless nights hunting for errors.

Furthermore, shorthand code could allow you to obfuscate your code and safeguard your application from reverse engineering attacks.

Shortened source code also compiles faster than long code, which could increase the performance of your application.

For example, here is a longhand format for declaring multiple variables in JavaScript:

let x;
let y;
let z = 100;

And, here is the shortened version of the code:

let x, y, z=100;

Therefore, if efficiency is an important factor, you should consider using short codes as compared to long codes.

3. Are You Comfortable With the Workload?

Reducing the number of lines of code in your task allows you to achieve more with less, which could significantly lower the workload required in building your application.

Conversely, because longhand lines of code are sometimes demanding to write, they could increase the number of hours you spend programming your app. Many lines of code could also increase overhead costs when performing quality maintenance.

With shorthand coding techniques, debugging an application is much easier because of the fewer variables to inspect and fewer locations to insert breakpoints.

Here is an example of a long-form JavaScript for loop statement:

const z = 100;
let result;
if (z > 50) {
    result = 'greater than 50';
} else {
    result = 'less than 50';

Here is the same code written using the shorter format (using the ternary operator):

const result = z > 50 ? 'greater than 50' : 'less than 50';

Clearly, the second version of the code allows you to reduce the number of repetitive statements. As such, rather than writing verbose long codes, you can expediently join several steps into single steps, allowing you to significantly lessen your workload and other associated expenses.

Wrapping up

Eventually, the choice to use either longhand code or shorthand code to power your application does not matter. Rather, what is important is carefully crafting the lines of code to attain the intended objectives.

If you rely on writing long codes than necessary, it could complicate debugging, increase the application’s load, and misuse time and resources.

Alternatively, if you like substituting several simple lines of code with a single complicated line of code, or lengthy statements with unclear ones, or clear-cut operations with extraordinary hacks, then the loss in overall value could prevail over the gain in succinctness.

Therefore, when programming an application, making sure that each line of code meets its intended objective is pivotal—and the choice to use fewer or longer lines of code should be your least motivator.

For any of your use case, you should aim to achieve high levels of readability, efficiency, cost-friendliness, and maintainability—usually in that order, without paying special attention to the extent of the lines of code you write.

javascript, performance, performance optimization, programming, tutorial

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