Questions tagged [design]

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

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286 votes
17 answers

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 ...
246 votes
16 answers

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 ...
  • 2,045
244 votes
15 answers

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 ...
  • 2,450
231 votes
17 answers

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 ...
  • 2,888
217 votes
18 answers

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 ...
212 votes
5 answers

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 ...
193 votes
7 answers

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 ...
  • 2,346
183 votes
5 answers

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 ...
  • 10.1k
173 votes
21 answers

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 ...
150 votes
8 answers

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 ...
  • 903
149 votes
12 answers

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 ...
147 votes
14 answers

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 ...
  • 1,703
143 votes
8 answers

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 ...
  • 108k
138 votes
17 answers

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 ...
  • 1,555
129 votes
11 answers

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 over ...
  • 1,467
123 votes
9 answers

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 ...
  • 2,693
109 votes
12 answers

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 ...
  • 2,784
98 votes
7 answers

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 ...
  • 2,391
96 votes
6 answers

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 ...
  • 843
94 votes
17 answers

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 ...
94 votes
11 answers

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 ...
  • 7,640
93 votes
6 answers

Difference between a service class and a Helper class [closed]

I would like to know what differentiates a Service class from a utility class or a helper class? A class only with underlying methods calls the dao's is a service? Doesn't the usage of Helper ...
  • 1,203
91 votes
8 answers

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 ...
  • 1,499
91 votes
8 answers

Why would you store an enum in DB?

I've seen a number of questions, like this, asking for advice on how to store enums in DB. But I wonder why would you do that. So let's say that I have an entity Person with a gender field, and a ...
  • 1,567
87 votes
9 answers

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 ...
  • 1,201
86 votes
18 answers

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. ...
86 votes
22 answers

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 ...
85 votes
3 answers

What is REST (in simple English) [closed]

Lately I have become interested in familiarizing myself with REST. I tried reading wiki entry on REST, but it was of no help. I would really appreciate it if someone can explain in simple English (...
  • 3,679
84 votes
7 answers

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 ...
  • 1,093
83 votes
12 answers

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 ...
82 votes
11 answers

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 ...
  • 6,381
81 votes
12 answers

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 ...
  • 2,254
80 votes
4 answers

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 ...
78 votes
7 answers

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 ...
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78 votes
16 answers

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 ...
78 votes
16 answers

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 ...
76 votes
9 answers

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 ...
  • 15.5k
76 votes
14 answers

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 ...
  • 17.2k
75 votes
6 answers

What should I consider when the DRY and KISS principles are incompatible?

The DRY principle sometimes forces the programmers to write complex, hard-to-maintain functions/classes. Code like this has a tendency to become more complex and harder to maintain over time. ...
73 votes
7 answers

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 ...
  • 1,133
73 votes
10 answers

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 ...
72 votes
7 answers

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 ...
  • 9,352
72 votes
6 answers

Many small requests vs. few large requests (API Design)

I'm currently working on a project with an organization as follows: Client - Gets data from the main server via REST api. Server - Requests data from various other servers via third-party APIs Third-...
  • 821
71 votes
11 answers

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 ...
  • 1,257
71 votes
9 answers

Are classes with only a single (public) method a problem?

I am currently working on a software project that performs compression and indexing on video surveillance footage. The compression works by splitting background and foreground objects, then saving the ...
71 votes
9 answers

Why not expose a primary key

In my education I have been told that it is a flawed idea to expose actual primary keys (not only DB keys, but all primary accessors) to the user. I always thought it to be a security problem (...
  • 1,056
70 votes
7 answers

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 ...
  • 2,032
70 votes
12 answers

"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 ...
69 votes
9 answers

Can manager classes be a sign of bad architecture?

Lately I've begun to think that having lots of manager classes in your design is a bad thing. The idea hasn't matured enough for me to make a compelling argument, but here's a few general points: I ...
  • 2,114
69 votes
4 answers

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 ...
  • 1,395

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