Open Access Honors Program Thesis
Andrew Berns, Honors Thesis Advisor
Computer software--Development; Computer software--Human factors;
Because of the diversity and complexity of the hundreds of coding languages out there, code readability has become more and more of an issue as the years have passed and as the popularity of technology that required built-in computers has increased. With so many different formats, styles, and restrictions on each language, even a developer with experience in only a few common languages may have trouble remembering which language allows for certain indentation, which language requires variable instantiation, which language requires return statements at the end of functions. While I can appreciate the diversity and efficiency that having many different languages provides, the pure amount of rules and restrictions provided by the thousands of people that constructed these languages to their preferences can make for a chaotic, confusing minefield of rights and wrongs in the coding world.
With this problem in mind, I would like to dig deep into research on the topic of code readability, hoping to gain some insight into what makes code “readable” or what makes the difference between “good code” and “bad code”. I believe that there is a strong psychological element at play, and because the world of coding is so widespread and free-form at times, it may be hard for people to truly score code on it’s readability. A lot of it will come down to personal opinion, which is unlike most modern spoken languages have strict rules of grammar. While there are strict rules to compiling code and most languages, there are usually many ways to get a program to run “correctly”, albeit potentially inefficiently. However, most experienced coders can look at a block of code and give an approximation as to how “correct” the code may be. That is the aspect that I want to investigate. I would like to see if I can nail down what choices have to be made in the programming process to make code that is considering good by the general public (which in this case would be the programming community.)
Year of Submission
Department of Computer Science
University Honors Designation
A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the designation University Honors
1 PDF file (38 pages)
©2019 Ethan Brian Sankey
Sankey, Ethan Brian, "Code readability: A proposal on the effects of psychology and comprehension in software development and maintenance" (2019). Honors Program Theses. 411.