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Cover image for Code Smell 128 - Non English Coding
Maxi Contieri
Maxi Contieri

Posted on • Originally published at maximilianocontieri.com

Code Smell 128 - Non English Coding

Using your local language is a great idea because domain naming is easier. Not

TL;DR: Stick to English. Always.

Problems

  • Polymorphism

  • Cultural gaps

  • Mixed Code

  • Syntactic Errors

Solutions

  1. Write in English

  2. Rename Domain Concepts to English

Context

All programming languages are written in English.

Unless for a few failed experiments during the 90's all modern languages use English for their primitives and their frameworks.

if you wanted to read or write in medieval Europe, you had to acquire a new language at the same time. Writing meant Latin.

This is true for programming languages nowadays.

I am not a Native English speaker.

My code (tries to be) in English.

Sample Code

Wrong

const elements = new Set();

elements.add(1);
elements.add(1);

elements.size() = 1 
//This is the standard set

var moreElements = new MultiConjunto();
//We defined a multiset in Spanish
//because we are extending the domain

moreElements.agregar('hello');
moreElements.agregar('hello');
//'agregar' is the Spanish word for 'add'

moreElements.size() = 2 //Since it is a multiset

//elements and moreElements are NOT polymorphic
//I cannot exchange their implementation

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Right

const elements = new Set();

elements.add(1);
elements.add(1);

elements.size() = 1 
//This is the standard set

var moreElements = new MultiSet();
//We defined a multiset in English

moreElements.add('hello');
moreElements.add('hello');

moreElements.size() = 2 //Since it is a multiset

//elements and moreElements are polymorphic
//I can exchange their implementation anytime

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Detection

[X] Automatic

Most IDEs and linters have a thesaurus.

We can search for foreign words.

Tags

  • Readability

Conclusion

Don't mix Non-English domain words with English primitives.

Even when Mapping your real-world entities, use plain English.

More Info

Credits

Photo by Anna Vander Stel on Unsplash


A programming language is a tool that has a profound influence on our thinking habits.

Edsger Dijkstra


This article is part of the CodeSmell Series.

Discussion (3)

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yoursunny profile image
Junxiao Shi

moreElements.size() = 2

I didn't know you could assign to the return value of a function in JavaScript.

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mcsee profile image
Maxi Contieri Author

Hi. It is not an assignment

It is the actual outcome.
code is here for pedagogic purposes.
Languages are accidental.
But I will put it in a comment line for better explanation.

Thank you

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yoursunny profile image
Junxiao Shi

MDN would write something like:

console.log(moreElements.size());
// expected output: 2
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You can also write:

moreElements.size() // returns 2
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