The importance of clean code in personal projects
- How can you be sure that nobody will ever be involved in the development in the future?
- If you make your project open source, don’t you want the world to see that you are coding cleanly and be proud of this?
- You will probably want to improve your project repeatedly. If you write bad foundations, it will be a nightmare to maintain and add new things without the fear of breaking anything. Sometimes, it is impossible to add new features because of bad code writing. In the worst cases, you will have to entirely rewrite your application. You do not want to do that.
As mentioned earlier, try to read the code you wrote a few years ago. There’s a great chance you will not be able to understand briefly what you wanted to do at that time. You may think the comments you put (if you do this) are here to help, but let’s ask two questions, as follows:
- Who truly reads code comments?
- What about writing code in a way that comments are unnecessary, and it is so clearly written it can be read like a book?
This is what it is all about: being able to read the source code like simple sentences without having to stop on a line to understand it. Also, to repeat what was said about clean code in teams: just because you are creating a project on your own does not mean that you won’t need external help. In fact, it is almost a certainty that one day, you will need the help of someone for something. Again, if you share the same set of common rules, it will be much easier for the helper to bring in their ideas. Even in personal moments and projects, a developer’s job is teamwork. Always.
Clean code is a mindset, and this mindset includes being proud of what we created—the taste of a job well done. It will maybe take a few years to fully understand what it is all about, and we always have new things to learn and situations we are facing for the first time. Clean code is to move toward the moment when you look at your code and tell yourself you are completely relaxed about showing your code to anybody.
As the saying goes, “write code as if the next developer to run it knows your address”. And this should also apply to personal projects because you are that very next developer.