The modern-day software development industry is going through a challenging time — a falling productivity crisis. Each year this problem becomes more evident and increasingly manifests itself in a variety of ways.
This productivity drain problem has a number of underlying causes. The one I would like to address today is the overwhelming length and complexity of programming code powering modern-day software solutions. It seems like the majority of the software industry has forgotten the golden rule of agile development: your code should be clear, clean, and concise above all.
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Why is code bloat so destructive to developer productivity?
In order to understand why less code is always better, I first need to clarify what productivity actually means in software development. When talking about productivity in this industry, it is typical for a large number of people to narrow this down to developer productivity, or, in other words, the ability of programmers to produce functional programming code. While in reality software development productivity comprises a number of separate characteristics. Along with developer productivity, the metrics that affect productivity in general, are final product performance, its business functionality, and application flexibility. There is a great article over on TechCrunch that dives deeper into productivity and how the right tool can turbocharge your developer productivity.
This point is important because I believe that changing the perception of productivity throughout the industry is essential to getting over this crisis. Today, many companies do not have the right approach to planning and budgeting both for the development of software solutions and subsequent maintenance. It is very important to recognize and budget for not just the work of developers writing the code but also the instruments utilized for building and maintaining the software.
Companies that fail to recognize the importance of all these things typically are the ones who end up using code bloated, unnecessarily complex and poorly optimized solutions, contributing to the development productivity crisis.
How can code bloat minimization improve software and boost developer productivity?
I think it’s fair to say that senior software developers know, through experience, that reducing code length is the way to increase ultimate software productivity, minimize the development time and keep maintenance costs under control.
Here are some key reasons why you should start adopting the “less code philosophy” in software development the sooner the better.
Less code is easier to understand and maintain over time
Reducing excessive code complexity makes the technology much easier to understand for everyone. New developers unfamiliar with a lean software code base need less time to sort through the code written by other programmers before them than a huge behemoth. This allows companies to maintain software solutions with minimum effort over long periods of time.
Less code helps to keep the costs of software testing and maintenance under control
Writing less code is also a necessity for any company that wants to keep the costs of software testing and maintenance under control. Continuously rising costs of building and maintaining software solutions is a direct consequence of this code bloat. The lengthier and more complex the software code is, the more expensive it will be to test and maintain it.
Less code provides a better user experience
The fact that code bloat negatively affects software user experience is well-known. Heavy applications and websites consume lots of computing resources and device memory. This is why, despite hardware continuously gaining computation power over the years, software today is working with the same speed or even slower than before. This happens when companies are making poor choices of engineering tools and generally tend to prioritize software development solutions that neglect the importance of dealing with the code bloat problem.
Less code makes it easier to deliver software across all major platforms
The need to provide cross-platform delivery of new and increasingly complex software products is another major reason for code bloat and falling development productivity. Today developers are required to create versions of their products for a growing number of desktop and mobile platforms. Building and updating the same application multiple times with different toolchains to support major platforms, including Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, and more, also drives up the costs of building a software product.
RAD Studio as the best way to address code bloat in enterprise development
So how should companies building software solutions be addressing this problem of drained development productivity and bloating? I truly believe that the key to reversing this problem lies in adopting a conscious approach to this process and the selection of development tools that were specifically designed to address the issue and facilitate high performance.
Embarcadero’s RAD Studio has the “less code” development paradigm as the fundamental principle of the platform. RAD Studio is a rapid application development package based on the “write once, compile everywhere” approach. This solution was designed to provide developers with a combination of an easy-to-read, write, and learn programming language; integrated toolchains; low-code technologies; and multi-platform deployment. All of this allows it to be able to fuel a developer productivity boost, in my opinion, up to X5.
RAD Studio approaches the productivity issue from multiple angles, supercharging developer productivity by reducing code complexity, fulfilling business requirements, providing application flexibility, and solidifying product performance.
The “Less code” paradigm is the key to success in the digital transformation era. Are you in?
From what I see, the code bloat and crisis of falling development productivity will only get worse in the coming years; we will inevitably witness new manifestations of this problem. Adopting a smarter approach to building, testing, and maintaining software products without further delay is key to avoiding falling into this trap.