Consistency is the key

In my last post, Keeping it simple, I wrote about a few things that can make you a better coder, or at least a more valuable member of a coding team. This is the next step down the path of coding nerdvana.

Style isn't just for the stylish

Every coder has their own preferred style. Left to our own devices, we tend to write code our own way. As long as you're the only one looking at the code, this isn't a problem, but consistency should still be valued.

If you're part of a team, you hopefully have a well documented style guide that everyone follows. Hopefully it covers the gritty details so that developers don't get into fist fights with each other about style differences. The last thing that a growing code base needs is for you to be able to tell who wrote a piece of code without checking your source control's blame log.

But what if it doesn't cover a style point?

Stay consistent!

Perhaps it's my upbringing as a military brat or my overly-logical thought process, but I just can't handle disorder in code. It seems so simple to me, but I see code like this entirely too often:

function foo($bar, $mitz) {
    if ( 0 == $bar ) {
    if($mitz == 0){
There are some very valid reasons to write your if conditions one way or the other (0 == $bar instead of $bar == 0). I'm sure there are people that will make arguments about whether to put spaces outside of the if condition parenthesis, or extra spaces inside them. But doing it two different ways in a single method is just crazy.

Mixing styles in your code makes it an order of magnitude more difficult to read. Code that is hard to read is hard to maintain. Your code will spend more time in maintenance than in development, so why wouldn't you do everything you could to make it easier to maintain?

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