Stakeholders hate long delivery cycles. They expect timely delivery of their products. As enterprise software development service providers, we try our best to reduce the time-to-market while ensuring the quality doesn’t hamper.
However, during the project development, we discover a few software antipatterns that hamper productivity and slow down the software delivery lifecycle. In this blog, we will talk about nine such software antipatterns and how to fix them.
Software Antipattern 1: The Mixed Domain
This software anti-pattern emerges when the boundaries between different domains start diminishing. A classic example of this pattern can be the pricing logic on an e-commerce application that also contains elements like payment information and vice versa.
Following behaviors result in the mixed-domain software anti-pattern:
- Delivering faster to keep up with tight deadlines.
- Looking for an easy way to deliver which may not be the right way.
- The interface boundaries between domains are not clearly defined.
- Your team is following the same old approach.
The mixed domain software antipattern is not ideal because it results in logic spreading across multiple codebases, extra dependencies, competing priorities, and complicated testing and operations. Over time, you would realize your delivery has slowed down.
How to Fix Mixed Domains?
Before you start working on a project, clearly define the boundaries of each domain. For this, you need to have a discussion with your team and involve all the right members in the project from the beginning.
Software Antipattern 2: Spaghetti Code
The spaghetti code antipattern is common in software development. It occurs when developers seldom pay attention to maintaining a clean structure of the software. They write some code and implement some features. When these features work, they write more code but forget to make the code clean.
As a result, the entire application turns into a large mess with a bunch of functions randomly placed in different files, sloppy structure without coding comments, and thousands of code lines without any coding conventions. You can’t refactor it anymore and have no choice but to refactor it.
How to Fix Spaghetti Code?
Pay attention to your code right from the beginning. Keep in mind the flow of the program, write clear comments for each line of code, and ensure all the functions are organized. Doing so will ensure you have no difficulty maintaining the program when it grows and the spaghetti code antipattern doesn’t emerge.
Software Anti-pattern 3: Customer-specific Domains
Since customer-specific domains are designed to keep customers in mind, you might wonder how they can be an antipattern?
The answer lies in Conway’s law which states that every architecture mimics the organization and communication patterns of the team building the software.
Now, imagine you have multiple customer segments like geography, device type, age – and all of them are using a common domain (saying pricing). Now, if you don’t handle this situation carefully, soon you will have multiple domains with similar domain logic for an easy specific customer segment. Code duplication will also happen.
Not that you can’t fix it later – but the cost of coordination, alignment, fragmented architecture, testing, and operation will be a lot.
How to Fix Customer-specific Domains?
Work with your team to create domains that benefit customers of all segments. This will help you keep the entire project organized and ensure no code is replicated.
Anti-pattern 4: Silver Bullet or Golden Hammer
The silver bullet or golden hammer software antipattern emerges when you make the mistake of assuming that a solution/pattern that worked for a single problem will also work for others.
While working on a project, you adopt a solution that worked on your past projects. Something that is your gold hammer/silver bullet. But then one day, it doesn’t work for a certain problem, and you realize all your efforts are wasted and code is overly complicated. You will also witness a downgrade in your software’s performance.
How to Fix Silver Bullet or Golden Hammer?
Always have more than one solution for a single problem. Observe the pros and cons of each, and then decide the one that suits you the best.
Antipattern 5: Duplicative Domains
Duplicative domains are the result of unclear team ownership and mixing the user experience with domain logic. They often confuse teams and result in extra efforts, late delivery, and increased team dependencies. You would be surprised to know that sometimes entire teams can be built around these domains.
How to Fix Duplicative Domains?
While planning your project ask yourself if your clients need to access similar capabilities from multiple locations. The answer is probably “No”. It will ensure you remain on track and experience no domains are duplicated.
Software Antipattern 6: Boat Anchor & Dead Code
At some point in working on your project, you might have thought of implementing something in the future. So, you might have written some additional lines of code which isn’t needed right now.
This additional line of code is called boat anchor. It is a software antipattern that results in unnecessary code, wastage of time, increased technical debt, and confusion among team members.
Dead code is like the boat anchor. It refers to the code you had written years ago to create a certain function but is no longer required. Like the boat anchor, it also causes obsolete code, unclear ownership, and project delay.
How to Fix Boat Anchor & Dead Code?
The best approach to fix the boat anchor is to ensure you are not writing unnecessary code in your project. In later stages, you can remove these boat anchors from your code. Removing the dead code completely from your project, however, will be risky. Doing monkey testing will be better, i.e., you can comment out a certain piece of code, turn off things, and see what happens in production. You can also take an iterative approach to remove the code piece by piece from your codebase.
Software Antipattern 7: Orphan Domains
Orphan domains don’t have any clear owner and the logic is spread across multiple teams and architectures. It leads to the requirement of multiple teams for the successful execution of the project.
This type of software antipattern is dominant when you move from monolith to the microservice architecture and results in closely related, partial domains that duplicate the domain logic and try to solve the same problems. The frustration builds in your team and sprint delays happen.
How to Fix Orphan Domains?
Define clear contextual boundaries and ownership between domains before you start working on your project. It will ensure there is no confusion among the team, and you can deliver the project on time.
Software Antipattern 8: God Object & God Class
A typical God object/God class handles too many responsibilities in a project. It breaks the principle of single responsibility and maintaining the code becomes difficult over time. Another major issue is that God classes are difficult to unit test, maintain, debug, and document. This leads to unnecessary delays and slows productivity.
How to Fix God Object & God Class?
To fix this software antipattern, you must separate and modularize your code. A great way to compare this is with the help of an interesting analogy. You asked for a car and got a car with the driver. You got what you wanted but more than what you needed.
Here is the example of a god object and how to fix it:
The above object is too broad and gives too much information. It needs refactoring. Here is how you can do that:
Following these rules of interface segregation and single responsibility, you can easily solve this anti-pattern. Don’t forget code reviews and detecting technical debts from time to time.
9. Copy & Paste Programming
Copy and paste programming software antipatterns is common among developers who lack development experience. When these developers face difficulty building some features or writing the code from scratch, they turn to the internet and try copy-pasting the code from resources like StackOverflow or GitHub without any testing and impact analysis. Later when you run the code, you realize nothing is working at all and there are errors everywhere.
The pattern emerges due to the poor understanding of fundamentals like the loop structures, functions, and subroutines.
How to Avoid Copy & Paste Programming?
To avoid this anti-pattern, you must test your code for test and impact analysis from time to time. A senior developer from your team must review and approve the code and make necessary amendments if you find any copy-pasted code chunk.
In a Nutshell
At present when there is cut-throat market competition, it is essential to release software features on time. However, certain software antipatterns can hamper productivity. Hence, it is essential to identify and fix these software antipatterns on time. Hopefully, by now, you have understood how you can identify and fix these software antipatterns.
If you still haven’t, don’t worry. Having years of experience working in enterprise software development, we can help. Talk to our experts about getting started.