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Questions tagged [design]

Questions about problem solving and planning for a solution through software design.

239
votes
16answers
19k views

Project is nearly done, but procedural spaghetti code. Do I rewrite or just keep trying to ship it? [closed]

I'm a beginner web developer (one year of experience). A couple of weeks after graduating, I got offered a job to build a web application for a company whose owner is not much of a tech guy. He ...
209
votes
18answers
97k views

How can one manage thousands of IF…THEN…ELSE rules?

I am considering building an application, which, at its core, would consist of thousands of if...then...else statements. The purpose of the application is to be able to predict how cows move around in ...
197
votes
17answers
51k views

Is premature optimization really the root of all evil?

A colleague of mine today committed a class called ThreadLocalFormat, which basically moved instances of Java Format classes into a thread local, since they are not thread safe and "relatively ...
177
votes
17answers
43k views

Is it good practice to always have an autoincrement integer primary key?

In my databases, I tend to get into the habit of having an auto-incrementing integer primary key with the name id for every table I make so that I have a unique lookup for any particular row. Is this ...
173
votes
5answers
26k views

What are good habits for designing command line arguments?

While developing the application I started to wonder - How should I design command line arguments? A lot of programs are using formula like this -argument value or /argument value. Solution which ...
163
votes
21answers
16k views

How do quick & dirty programmers know they got it right?

If you ask programmers why they should write clean code, the number one answer you get is maintainability. While that's on my list, my main reason is more immediate and less altruistic: I can't tell ...
160
votes
16answers
86k views

Is it wrong to use a boolean parameter to determine behavior?

I have seen a practice from time to time that "feels" wrong, but I can't quite articulate what is wrong about it. Or maybe it's just my prejudice. Here goes: A developer defines a method with a ...
158
votes
5answers
135k views

When do you use a struct instead of a class? [closed]

What are your rules of thumb for when to use structs vs. classes? I'm thinking of the C# definition of those terms but if your language has similar concepts I'd like to hear your opinion as well. I ...
137
votes
8answers
8k views

How do I get people to stop bikeshedding (focusing on trivialities)?

I have been tasked with teaching other teams a new codebase, but I keep running into an issue. Whenever I go to actually walk through the code with people, we don't get very far before the entire ...
136
votes
8answers
21k views

Are bad programming practices typical within the software industry? [closed]

I just started my first job as a software developer over a month ago. Everything I have learned about OOP, SOLID, DRY, YAGNI, design patterns, SRP, etc. can be thrown out the window. They use C# .NET ...
131
votes
17answers
12k views

How do I know how reusable my methods should be? [closed]

I am minding my own business at home and my wife comes to me and says Honey.. Can you print all the Day Light Savings around the world for 2018 in the console? I need to check something. And I am ...
128
votes
10answers
16k views

Is this a violation of the Liskov Substitution Principle?

Say we have a list of Task entities, and a ProjectTask sub type. Tasks can be closed at any time, except ProjectTasks which cannot be closed once they have a status of Started. The UI should ensure ...
116
votes
11answers
29k views

The modern way to perform error handling…

I've been pondering this problem for a while now and find myself continually finding caveats and contradictions, so I'm hoping someone can produce a conclusion to the following: Favour exceptions ...
114
votes
7answers
58k views

How do searches fit into a RESTful interface?

When designing a RESTful interface, the semantics of the request types are deemed vital to the design. GET - List collection or retrieve element PUT - Replace collection or element POST - Create ...
107
votes
14answers
62k views

What is the ideal length of a method for you? [closed]

In object-oriented programming, there is of course no exact rule on the maximum length of a method , but I still found these two quotes somewhat contradicting each other, so I would like to hear what ...
104
votes
10answers
16k views

Are design patterns really essential nowadays?

I was reading "Coders at Work" and have faced the fact that some of the professionals interviewed in the book are not so enthusiastic about design patterns. I think that there are 2 main reasons for ...
100
votes
12answers
15k views

Is testable code better code?

I'm attempting to get into the habit of writing unit tests regularly with my code, but I've read that first it's important to write testable code. This question touches on SOLID principles of writing ...
92
votes
17answers
24k views

Is it a good idea to design an architecture thinking that the User Interface classes can be replaced by a command line interface?

In Code Complete page 25, it's said that it's a good idea to be able to easily replace the regular user interface classes by a command line one. Knowing its advantages for testing, what about the ...
88
votes
6answers
17k views

Why are some C programs written in one huge source file?

For example, the SysInternals tool "FileMon" from the past has a kernel-mode driver whose source code is entirely in one 4,000-line file. The same for the first ever ping program ever written (~2,000 ...
87
votes
11answers
7k views

Why should main() be short?

I've been programming for over 9 years, and according to the advice of my first programming teacher, I always keep my main() function extremely short. At first I had no idea why. I just obeyed ...
87
votes
8answers
14k views

What is “Soft Coding”, really?

In this article by Alex Papadimoulis, you can see this snippet: private void attachSupplementalDocuments() { if (stateCode == "AZ" || stateCode == "TX") { //SR008-04X/I are always required in ...
86
votes
22answers
11k views

Is OOP hard because it is not natural?

One can often hear that OOP naturally corresponds to the way people think about the world. But I would strongly disagree with this statement: We (or at least I) conceptualize the world in terms of ...
84
votes
18answers
5k views

Design flaws and dealing with humiliation from it [closed]

Have you always been fundamentally correct in the software designs you proposed? When you give out some design that was fundamentally wrong, you tend to lose the respect of your fellow team members. ...
83
votes
11answers
15k views

Is DRY the enemy of software project management?

One of the most basic and widely accepted principles of software development is DRY (don't repeat yourself). It is also clear that most software projects require some kind of management. Now what are ...
83
votes
9answers
9k views

I can write code… but can't design well. Any suggestions? [closed]

I feel that I am good at writing code in bits and pieces, but my designs really suck. The question is, how do I improve my designs - and in turn become a better designer? I think schools and colleges ...
77
votes
7answers
23k views

Should I use Dependency Injection or static factories?

When designing a system I am often faced with the problem of having a bunch of modules (logging, database acces, etc) being used by the other modules. The question is, how do I go about providing ...
76
votes
16answers
5k views

Should we design programs to randomly kill themselves? [closed]

In a nutshell, should we design death into our programs, processes, and threads at a low level, for the good of the overall system? Failures happen. Processes die. We plan for disaster and ...
75
votes
12answers
20k views

What's actually wrong with an endpoint returning HTML rather than JSON data?

When I first started learning PHP (about 5 or 6 years ago) I learned about Ajax, and I went through "the phases": Your server returns HTML data and you put it inside a DOM's innerHTML You learn about ...
73
votes
7answers
10k views

Should I follow the normal path or fail early?

From the Code Complete book comes the following quote: "Put the normal case after the if rather than after the else" Which means that exceptions/deviations from the standard path should be put in ...
73
votes
11answers
6k views

Advice on designing web application with a 40+ year lifetime

Scenario Currently, I am apart of a health care project whose main requirement is to capture data with unknown attributes using user generated forms by health care providers. The second requirement ...
73
votes
6answers
9k views

How to manage accidental complexity in software projects

When Murray Gell-Mann was asked how Richard Feynman managed to solve so many hard problems Gell-Mann responded that Feynman had an algorithm: Write down the problem. Think real hard. Write down the ...
72
votes
9answers
62k views

Why use partial classes?

In my understanding, the partial keyword does nothing but allow a class to be split between several source files. Is there any reason to do this other than for code organization? I've seen it used for ...
71
votes
4answers
19k views

Why do many software developers violate the open/closed principle?

Why do many software developers violate the open/closed principle by modifying many things like renaming functions which will break the application after upgrading? This question jumps to my head ...
69
votes
10answers
6k views

My proposed design is usually worse than my colleague's - how do I get better? [closed]

I have been programming for couple of years and am generally good when it comes to fixing problems and creating small-to-medium scripts, however, I'm generally not good at designing large scale ...
69
votes
7answers
73k views

When to use abstract classes instead of interfaces with extension methods in C#?

"Abstract class" and "interface" are similar concepts, with interface being the more abstract of the two. One differentiating factor is that abstract classes provide method implementations for derived ...
69
votes
4answers
7k views

Why were Java collections implemented with “optional methods” in the interface?

During my first implementation extending the Java collection framework, I was quite surprised to see that the collection interface contains methods declared as optional. The implementer is expected ...
68
votes
12answers
115k views

SQL: empty string vs NULL value

I know this subject is a bit controversial and there are a lot of various articles/opinions floating around the internet. Unfortunatelly, most of them assume the person doesn't know what the ...
68
votes
12answers
7k views

“Everything is a Map”, am I doing this right?

I watched Stuart Sierra's talk "Thinking In Data" and took one of the ideas from it as a design principle in this game I'm making. The difference is he's working in Clojure and I'm working in ...
66
votes
7answers
149k views

Designing a REST api by URI vs query string

Let's say I have three resources that are related like so: Grandparent (collection) -> Parent (collection) -> and Child (collection) The above depicts the relationship among these resources ...
65
votes
7answers
15k views

If functions have to do null checks before doing the intended behaviour is this bad design?

So I don't know if this is good or bad code design so I thought I better ask. I frequently create methods that do data processing involving classes and I often do a lot of checks in the methods to ...
63
votes
4answers
22k views

What is inversion of control, and when should I use it?

I am designing a new system and I want to know what inversion of control (IOC) is, and more importantly, when to use it. Does it have to be implemented with interfaces or can be done with classes?
62
votes
11answers
5k views

Clarify the Single Responsibility Principle

The Single Responsibility Principle states that a class should do one and only one thing. Some cases are pretty clear cut. Others, though, are difficult because what looks like "one thing" when ...
60
votes
14answers
29k views

Isn't MVC anti OOP?

The main idea behind OOP is to unify data and behavior in a single entity - the object. In procedural programming there is data and separately algorithms modifying the data. In the Model-View-...
59
votes
12answers
8k views

Is it bad practice to pass instances through several layers?

In my program design, I often come to the point where I have to pass object instances through several classes. For example, if I have a controller that loads an audio file, and then passes it to a ...
59
votes
16answers
6k views

How do I deal with analysis paralysis?

Very frequently, I am stuck when choosing the best design decision. Even for small details, such as function definitions, control flow, and variable names, I spend unusually long periods perusing the ...
57
votes
8answers
7k views

Should a developer do UI mockups if there are no designers in the project?

I'm working with a small team that creates a proprietary web application and UX isn't much of a priority since our own people will be the ones operating it, but we do try to make their jobs easier. ...
55
votes
10answers
4k views

What is meant by, “A user shouldn't decide whether it is an Admin or not. The Privileges or Security system should.”

The example used in the question pass bare minimum data to a function touches on the best way to determine whether the user is an administrator or not. One common answer was: user.isAdmin() This ...
55
votes
12answers
28k views

Is catching general exceptions really a bad thing?

I typically agree with most code analysis warnings, and I try to adhere to them. However, I'm having a harder time with this one: CA1031: Do not catch general exception types I understand the ...
54
votes
10answers
12k views

In what cases is less code not better? [closed]

I have refactored some code at work lately, and I thought I did a good job. I dropped 980 lines of code to 450 and halved the number of classes. When showing this to my colleagues some did not agree ...
54
votes
6answers
12k views

Is an event loop just a for/while loop with optimized polling?

I'm trying to understand what an event loop is. Often the explanation is that in an event loop, you do something until you're notified that an event has occurred. You then handle the event and ...