Software developer working on a coding task at his computer software engineering best practices

Software Engineering Best Practices to Improve the Quality of Java Code

In software engineering, best practices refer to a body of empirically proven techniques used during product development to achieve the best result. When they are integrated early, these practices are effective at preventing common challenges that new programmers face.

In this article, you’re going to find a list of the 10 best practices used by software engineers to slash development time and minimize errors. You will also find out why coding plays such a significant role in development success, how to identify problems during development, and Java best practices. 

What Are Software Engineering Best Practices?

Some of the most common software engineering best practices are code simplicity, code review, prioritizing code correction over speed, and deleting intermittently failed tests. You’ll also want to document your progress, ensure scalability, make your code reusable, and consider test-driven development. Finally, make sure to define your minimum viable product (MVP) and refactor your code. 

Research carried out by Appiumhub in partnership with Coding Sans revealed that two of the biggest challenges faced by software development firms are capacity and knowledge sharing. This means that there aren’t enough workers to handle the projects on the ground, and development teams aren’t communicating effectively enough as they work.

Both problems can be mitigated if the best practices for software development are applied at every stage of production. This requires cutting-edge research skills, dynamic thinking, and the analytical ability to find the right collaboration tool for the task at hand. 

Why Are Good Coding Practices Important?

Good coding practices are essential to developing effective products. According to Tom Cargill of Bell Labs, failure or mistakes during the coding stage of development account for the most significant delays during the production cycle. 

As Cargill famously put it, “The first 90 percent of the code accounts for the first 90 percent of the development time. The remaining 10 percent of the code accounts for the other 90 percent of the development time.” 

Known as the ninety-ninety rule, this principle has empirical backing in the software engineering industry. Finishing a coding project is hard work, and all experts recognize that speed and efficiency are crucial if you want to create the ideal software development project.

Software Engineering Best Practices

There are no limits when it comes to software engineering best practices, but for this article, we will focus on 10 actionable development tasks that help create the most successful product possible.

Keep Your Code Simple 

Software engineers across all levels agree that code should be kept as simple as possible. Writing the cleanest code you can won’t just make your life easier, it will help every member of the development team. If you make your code readable, it makes it easier to implement major changes during upgrades.

Review Your Code as You Go

If you want to become a software engineer, you need a robust code review process. It’s easy to get carried away in the moment and write lines of code that may or may not be implemented during the project. By deleting code you don’t need, you ensure that only the best and most useful code base is pushed forward to the final render.  

Prioritize Code Correction Before Speed 

Speed is important when it comes to software projects. However, it is more important to be correct and slow than fast with error-riddled work. So, focus on writing clean code at every stage of development before you worry about coding speed. This optimizes the entire development process and guarantees correct outputs. 

Delete Intermittently Failed Tests 

When tests fail intermittently, you need to find the root cause of the problem, but it is important to remember not to leave the failed functional tests on your test suite. To preserve the integrity of your work, delete it immediately and try again. You can leave the first blocks of code for reference, but every other copy that fails after that should be deleted. 

Document Your Progress 

Taking notes when you’re writing production code, as well as during every other process in the development environment, is a great way to improve software quality. For writing clean code, try adding a README file to each section of code. You should also write API documentation and add coding conventions.  

Ensure Scalability 

When software is upgraded, new features are typically added to the application code. If the original clean code is not scalable, it will be difficult for you or any future developer to add new content without compromising functionality. 

Write Reusable Code

Reusable code saves time and cuts developmental costs significantly. Most companies make code maintenance a core development goal. This way, when it’s time to create a new product or upgrade a current one, you don’t need to start a code base from scratch, and you can keep the turnaround time down. 

Practice Test-Driven Development 

Another great way to save time and costs is to practice test-driven development. This involves testing parts of the code on the go, rather than waiting until the final version is ready. This method of development saves time and resources. Unit tests are the best options for this technique. Keep track of your unit test with code coverage. 

Define Your Minimum Viable Product 

If you’re working with a team, make sure that you collaborate with them to define the minimum viable product (MVP). The minimum viable product is the stage of development that can be released to customers. It may have just a few features, but it should be useful enough to attract use and feedback. 

Refactor Your Code

Code refactoring is another incredible best practice that can optimize the development process by preventing technical debt in the long run. Refactoring simply means changing the structure of a source code without compromising its function. It’s not always possible to do it, but take advantage of every opportunity you have to meet the right coding standard. 

What Are the Signs of Software Development Problems?

It’s not unusual for a software development project to face its fair share of challenges. However, when there are enough concurrent issues to prevent the project from moving forward, you probably have a significant software development problem on your hands. A few common signs to look out for are listed below.

  • Bad software code quality 
  • Difficulty in maintaining or extending software 
  • Challenges fitting different modules of the project together 
  • Unacceptable software performance 
  • Team members working in each other’s way  

What Are the Causes of Poor Software Development?

There are several factors that cause software development problems. If these factors are identified early and fixed, the problems can be eliminated and the project can move forward. Some common causes are listed below.

  • Lack of adequate communication within the development team
  • Lack of domain knowledge 
  • Poor deadline management and unrealistic schedules 
  • Insufficient software testing at different levels of development 
  • Overwhelming complexity in the source code

Java Best Practices

Java is a popular and robust programming language. So, learning Java is a good idea if you want to be an effective software developer. As you learn, keep in mind the following best practices for Java programming. 

Always Fill Catch Blocks 

Filling catch blocks, even when you’re the only one working on a program, is always a good idea. This is because even the smallest project can extend into viral software that needs the attention of several developers. If the catch blocks are left empty, debugging will be incredibly challenging for every new developer. 

Use the Right Naming Conventions

Don’t underestimate naming conventions, which can save you time. Before you start coding, decide the names for the variables, interfaces, methods, and classes. This will help promote uniformity as long as the names are readable and significant. Other developers will follow your names as the project progresses. 

Access Class Members Privately 

For security purposes, try and mark class fields as private. While leaving classes public is easier, it’s not secure. You can boost security by assigning private access modifiers for each class. It makes it difficult, or even impossible, to manipulate the software quality. 

Keep Memory Leaks at Bay

Memory leaks can cause performance degradation, so it is very important to keep an eye out for them. Typically, Java automatically controls the memory during software development projects. However, there are some memory leaks you can avoid with things as simple as using a Finally block. 

Only Create Necessary Objects 

Java is an object oriented programming language, and you need to make sure that every object you create is needed for whatever stage of the development process you’re on. The last thing you want to do is burn memory creating objects that are unnecessary for performing specific tasks. It leads to redundancies, even during unit tests.

How to Master Java Best Practices

Lines of code written in a white stripe of Java software engineering best practices
Mastering Java best practices requires practice and continuous learning. 

You can master Java best practices if you’re learning Java development in a university degree program, at a Java bootcamp, or even on your own. It’s always better to learn to incorporate these best practices while you’re learning how to code instead of waiting until after you’ve mastered the craft. 

While just five Java best practices are listed above, there are many more tips, tricks, and tools you will have to learn if you want to excel in your field. Most coding bootcamps that teach this programming language give students hands-on experience using Java best practices.

Best Java Programming Bootcamps

The best bootcamps for mastering Java teach students to take full advantage of the Java library during software development. The table below lists these bootcamps. Some offer programs that focus solely on Java development, while others offer Java along with other programming languages as part of a more detailed software development program.

Bootcamp Location Program Tuition
4Geeks Academy Miami Software Engineer $11,499
Coding Dojo Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, Online Software Development $16,245
Devmountain Dallas, Lehi, Online Java Software Engineering $7,900
Lambda School Online Backend Development $30,000
Skill Distillery Denver Web Development with Java
Full Stack Development with Java

Software Guild Online Java Bootcamp $10,125
The Tech Academy Portland, Salt Lake City, Online Java and Android Development Boot Camp
Mobile App Developer Boot Camp
$7,950 – $9,800

$9,540 – $11,900
Tech Elevator Cincinnati, Columbus, Cleveland, Pittsburgh Philadelphia, Online Java Coding Bootcamp $15,950
Tech Talent South Asheville, Atlanta, Charlotte, Columbus, Dallas, Hartford, New Orleans, Phoenix, Raleigh, San Antonio, Wilmington Code Immersion $2,200 – $13,500
Zip Code Wilmington Wilmington Full Stack Coding $12,000

Good Coding Practices: Why Are They Essential?

Upholding the best coding practices throughout all the levels of development is essential to speeding up the process, saving costs, and ensuring a successful launch. Whether you’re working with a team or on your own, you need to make your code clean and straightforward and avoid complications as much as possible. 

Software Engineering Best Practices FAQ

What are the three most valuable software engineering practices?

Test-driven development, refactoring, and code simplicity are the three most valuable software engineering practices. Combined, these techniques can speed up development time, cut costs, and minimize errors in the development environment.

What is modern software engineering?

This term is used to refer to software projects that rely on Lean and Agile principles for developing and delivering new functionality based on client needs and continuous integration. It doesn’t matter if you’re working as an individual developer on a small project or you’re working with a team. It simply refers to a specific approach to software engineering.

What are the qualities of good software?

The qualities of good software are correctness, usability, adaptability, integrity, continuous improvement, continuous delivery, accuracy, understandability, and efficiency of software architecture. These qualities are what make a successful production environment.

What are the types of software practices?

Some common software practices used in the software engineering community are Agile methods, the waterfall model, and quality assurance documentation. Software engineering best practices are an important part of any experienced software engineering team.

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