There are several ways to improve software quality and find bugs quickly and easily. By following a set of conventions, code will look 'cleaner' and be more understandable. It will also help spot syntax errors and other errors early, without having to run or compile all the time.
A coding style gives guidance on those parts of programming that are irrelevant to the compiler or interpreter. For instance, what do you call your variables? do you use spaces or tabs for indentation? Where do you put comments? etc.
Here is a very nice article about why coding styles matter, and increase software quality: Improving software quality, why Coding Style Matters
Use editorconfig to adhere to the basic code style rules.
Using editor config is not necessary, but saves a lot of time and keeps developers from straying from the style of choice and helps to avoid some problems caused by formatting differences (line ending, tabs vs spaces).
The eScience Center editor config file can be downloaded here
Automatic code formatters and linters
These are small programs that check if your code follows a specific coding style. Some code formatters can find more issues (unused variables, missing documentation, ...) They are often langauge dependent, and can be integrated with an editor.
Online software quality improvement tools
There are several web services that analyze code and make the quality of the code visible.
Code quality analysis services are web applications which have the following features:
- Automaticly analyse your code after a Github push
- Usually free for open source projects
- Most supports multiple programming languages, but not every language will be have the same level of features
- Grade or score for the quality of all of the code in the repository
- List of issues with the code, grouped by severity
- Drill down to location of issue
- Default list of checks which the service provider finds the best practice
- Can be configured to make the list of checks more strict or relaxed
- Can be configured to ignore files or extensions
- Can read configuration file from repository
- Tracks issues over time and send alerts when quality deteriorates
- Optionally reports on code coverage generated by a CI build
See the language guides for good options per language.
For a list of choices see http://shields.io/ or https://github.com/ripienaar/free-for-dev#code-quality
If your language supports namespaces, use nl.esciencecenter
See the Code Reviews section.