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Spaghetti Code

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  • Last Updated : 17 Jun, 2021
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In this article, we will discuss Spaghetti Code, and We often hear this term, Spaghetti Code, and we should avoid it. But what exactly is Spaghetti Code? And Why should we Avoid it?

Overview :
Spaghetti Code is nothing but a generalized common-usage term for unstructured and difficult-to-read code. Such a type of code in any large code-base can create problems of its own, if not resolved on time. It can lead to a huge wastage of important resources like time and energy to find bugs and fix them because the code has no structure. 

Example :
Given below is an example of Spaghetti codes as follows.

Unstructured code in BASIC Language –

1 i=0
2 i=i+1
3 PRINT i; "squared=";i*i
4 IF i>=100 THEN GOTO 6
5 GOTO 2
6 PRINT "Program Completed."

Structured code for above example –

1 FOR i=1 TO 100
2     PRINT i;"squared=";i*i
3 NEXT i
4 PRINT "Program Completed."

How does Spaghetti Code end up in your code-base :
There can several reasons for this to happen in a very large code-base. It occurs mostly when the following scenarios will be there as follows.

  1. The Best development practices get outdated with time, and existing systems fail to be optimized with the latest practices.
  2. Developers get changed or transferred to a new team, they tend to write code that suits their style and habit and unintentionally disturb the entire code base.
  3. Less experienced programmers alter the code-base with unstructured code, excessive GOTO statements, or very little comments.

Prevention Steps :
By the above discussion, it has become quite clear that Spaghetti code is the perfect recipe for failure in the long term. So, every organization and programmer must take precautions to avoid accumulation of spaghetti code in their code-base. There are a number of basic rules and methods one can keep in mind to maintain efficiency and avoid spaghetti code. They are as follows:

  • Write comments – 
    Writing comments is considered as a very good practice among coders. Comments not only help the programmer writing the actual code, but also the one reading it. It gives clarity of what a particular portion of code does and saves valuable time.
  • Understanding the Code-base – 
    When starting a new position at a company, it is often advised that you first learn their methods and styles before taking any significant programming-related work. This will help you understand how things work there, and it will help you get a better understanding of the structure of their code-base.
  • Perform Unit Tests – 
    You can reduce the probability of spaghetti code occurring if you perform routine unit tests.
  • Use Light Frameworks – 
    There are tons of frameworks and libraries available in all modern programming languages that help you execute hundreds of functions with just a few lines of code. This was, your code gets leaner and finding and fixing bugs easier.
  • Always Double Check – 
    It will never hurt you to go through some part of the code one more time, more than when it will take you hours to find your bug in thousands of lines of spaghetti.
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