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Comments are for Losers

Ask any developer about comments and they will say "Gotta have 'em!". Why?

Comments are supposed to help us to be productive. However, many comments are not well thought out and cause their peers to lose productivity when they go off on a wild goose chase.  There are several categories of bad comments:

  • Too many comments
  • Excessive history comments
  • Humorous comments
  • And more

We’ll discuss the merits of self-documenting code vs comments, comment drift over time, and commented code.  We’ll finish with a discussion of practical ways that teams can improve the quality of their comments.

Speaker Bio:

Dalip Mahal is Canadian but spent 10 years in the US working with start-ups and Fortune 500 companies in New England as a senior development and product manager.  He currently has a consulting company dedicated to helping all size organizations streamline their requirements and development processes.

RSVP Notes: The $1.50 is to RSVP and is used to help control the RSVP list. Without the small charge too many people are not honoring the RSVP and other people are missing out. If you don't want to pay the $1.50 you can email me and ask nicely to be placed on the RSVP list manually.

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  • A former member
    A former member

    September 29, 2012

  • Wei M.

    Interesting topic and discussion.

    September 27, 2012

  • Cliff H.

    As usual, RSVP is not need to attend. Our limit is 50 people with preference given to those that have RSVP'd.

    September 27, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Incorrect commenting fails code review here .....

    September 26, 2012

  • Murray M.

    Self documenting code tells you what, comments tell you why.

    1 · September 14, 2012

    • Cliff H.

      In theory that's true... in practice it is rare.

      September 15, 2012

    • Carl S.

      You're both right. However, that's not a good reason to throw out the baby with the bath water. I'd rather focus on improving comment quality than discarding them. I also disagree with Dalip's premise that humorous comments are bad. As long as it doesn't get carried away, some levity is certainly welcome in my books.

      September 24, 2012

  • Joe

    When I see code that is non-commented, I think someone was thinking "job security" when they wrote it because it makes the code more difficult to maintain and harder to transfer and/or share amount peers.

    If someone handed-me code of this type, I'd likely hand it back and tell the originator of the code to comment-it, or I'd tend to steer-clear of them. There are exceptions you can live with, or work around, like for example:

    Well written comments can almost be used as a flowchart independent of language and even though you don't need to be at 5 star quality like this: I still think having comments is better than not having them.

    1 · September 1, 2012

8 went

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