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Cover image for Code Smell 93 - Send me Anything
Maxi Contieri
Maxi Contieri

Posted on • Originally published at maximilianocontieri.com

Code Smell 93 - Send me Anything

Magic functions that can receive a lot of different (and not polymorphic arguments)

TL;DR: Create a clear contract. Expect just one protocol.

Problems

  • Fail Fast principle violation

  • Error prune

  • Readability

  • If polluting

  • Nulls

  • Bad Cohesion

Solutions

  1. Take just one "kind" of input

  2. Arguments should adhere to a single protocol.

Sample Code

Wrong

<?

function parseArguments($arguments) {
    $arguments = $arguments ?: null;
    //Always the billion-dollar mistake
    if (is_empty($arguments)) {
        $this->arguments = http_build_query($_REQUEST);
        //Global coupling and side effects
    } elseif (is_array($arguments)) {
        $this->arguments = http_build_query($arguments);
    } elseif (!$arguments) { //null unmasked
        $this->arguments = null;
    } else {
        $this->arguments = (string)$arguments;
    }
}
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Right

<?

function parseArguments(array $arguments) {
    $this->arguments = $arguments;
    //much cleaner, isn't it ?
}
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Detection

We can detect this kind of methods when they do different things, asking for the argument kind

Tags

  • If Polluter

Conclusion

Magic castings and flexibility have a price. They put the rubbish under the rug and violate fail fast principle.

Relations

Credits

Photo by Hennie Stander on Unsplash


Referential transparency is a very desirable property: it implies that functions consistently yield the same results given the same input, irrespective of where and when they are invoked.

Edward Garson


This article is part of the CodeSmell Series.

Discussion (1)

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lukeshiru profile image
LUKESHIRU

You might want to correct your tags, the post is about #PHP and you used #javascript.

Cheers!