Blog #8 – “Bloaters”

Another programming term I learned about this week is “Bloaters” which are code, methods, and classes that have increased to such big proportions that they are difficult to work with. This is part of a section of code that “smells”, which doesn’t literally smell, but it means that this type of code stinks. When it comes to bloaters, these “smells” do not come up right away, but they accumulate over time as the program evolves.

The blog “Source Making” goes in-depth with Bloaters and I like this blog because it breaks down the types of Bloaters and explains what they are, what causes them, and how to fix them in a way that’s easy to understand. The blog lists a few types of Bloaters.

  • Long Method
  • Large Class
  • Primitive Obsession
  • Long Parameter List
  • Data Clumps

Long Methods are methods with too many lines of code. The rule of thumb given by this blog is that if a method has more than ten lines of code, it should be reconsidered. A solution given by the blog is that if you feel the need to comment on something inside a method, you should take the code out and put it into a new method instead.

Large Class is a class that contains too many fields/methods/lines of code. Classes usually start small but get bloated as the program grows. If a class is wearing too many “hats”, then you should think about splitting them up.

Primitive Obsession is the use of primitives instead of small objects for simple tasks, the use of constants for coding information, and the use of string constants as field names for use in data arrays. Like many other smells, primitive obsessions are born in moments of weakness but become a problem later on. The blog suggests that if you have a large variety of primitive fields, it could be possible to logically group some of them into their own class, or move the behavior associated with the data into the class too.

Long Parameter Lists are more than three or four parameters for a method. To fix this, check what values are passed to parameters, if some of the arguments are just results of method calls of another object, you should replace the parameters with a method call.

Data Clumps are different parts of the code that contain identical groups of variables and should be turned into their own classes. This can be caused by copying and pasting a lot of code, and if you see repeating data, the blog suggests using the Extract Class to move data fields to their own class.

This blog gave me a great understanding of types of code smells, like the Bloater, with multiple examples of bloaters that many of us may encounter or even create while coding. This is a good way to see if you’re practicing bad coding habits and how to fix them to make your code more concise and to make your programs run better.

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