Clean Code: Tips for Readable JavaScript

Writing clean, readable code should be a priority

For every JavaScript developer, code needs frequent maintenance and will be read far more times than it is written. Save yourself and others time down the road by following these tips for improving JavaScript readability:

Use Descriptive Names

It can be hard to find good names, so don’t be afraid of longer, more descriptive names. Avoid single letter variables and abbreviations that have unclear meanings. (Yes, you may know what it’s for and what it does, but we should code as tho we are coding for others to use/read) Err on the side of clarity instead of brevity.

Format Consistently

Consistency in formatting makes code easier to parse visually. Use a popular style guide like AirBnB’s for standard conventions. Apply these uniformly across projects.

Break into Small Functions

Don’t have functions that run for pages and pages. Break longer processes down into smaller single-purpose functions that are easier to understand.

Add Comments for Complex Code

Use comments to explain the intent and functionality of parts of code that are not immediately understandable. But don’t comments as a crutch for hard-to-read code.

Avoid Deep Nesting

Too many nested functions or conditional logic can make following program flow difficult. Refactor nested elements into separate functions and guard clauses.

Name Well, Format Well, Break Well, Comment Well
Following these basic rules of thumb will ensure your JavaScript is readable and maintainable by both future you and other developers. Clean code saves time, headaches and technical debt down the road.

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