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Code Smell 75 - Comments Inside a Method

Maxi Contieri
Learn something new every day. - I am a senior software engineer working in industry, teaching and writing on software design, SOLID principles, DDD and TDD.
Originally published at maximilianocontieri.com ・2 min read

Comments are often a code smell. Inserting them inside a method calls for an urgent refactor.

TL;DR Don't add comments inside your methods. Extract them and leave declarative comments just for not obvious design decisions.

Problems

  • Readability

  • Kiss

  • Low Reuse

  • Bad Documentation

Solutions

  1. Extract Method

  2. Refactor

  3. Remove not declarative comments.

Sample Code

Wrong

function recoverFromGrief() {
    // Denial stage
    absorbTheBadNews();
    setNumbAsProtectiveState();
    startToRiseEmotions();
    feelSorrow();

    // Anger stage
    maskRealEffects();
    directAngerToOtherPeople();
    blameOthers();
    getIrrational();

    // bargaining stage
    feelVulnerable();
    regret();
    askWhyToMyself();
    dreamOfAlternativeWhatIfScenarios();
    postoponeSadness();

    // depression stage
    stayQuiet();
    getOverwhelmed();
    beConfused();

    // acceptance stage
    acceptWhatHappened();
    lookToTheFuture();
    reconstructAndWalktrough();
}
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Right

function recoverFromGrief() {
    denialStage();
    angerStage();
    bargainingStage();
    depressionStage();
    acceptanceStage();
}

function denialStage() {
    absorbTheBadNews();
    setNumbAsProtectiveState();
    startToRiseEmotions();
    feelSorrow();
}

function angerStage() {
    maskRealEffects();
    directAngerToOtherPeople();
    blameOthers();
    getIrrational();
}

function bargainingStage() {
    feelVulnerable();
    regret();
    askWhyToMyself();
    dreamOfAlternativeWhatIfScenarios();
    postoponeSadness();
}

function depressionStage() {
    stayQuiet();
    getOverwhelmed();
    beConfused();
}

function acceptanceStage() {
    acceptWhatHappened();
    lookToTheFuture();
    reconstructAndWalktrough();
}
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Detection

This is a policy smell. Every linter can detect comments not in the first line and warn us.

Tags

  • Readability

  • Long Methods

  • Comments

Conclusion

Comments are a code smell. If you need to document a design decision, you should do it before the actual method code.

Relations

Credits

Photo by Jason Rosewell on Unsplash


Don't get suckered in by the comments, they can be terribly misleading: Debug only the code.

Dave Storer


This article is part of the CodeSmell Series.

Last update: 2021/06/05

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