Clean code is nothing new in the arena of software development. Developers have been talking about it for decades. They have been arguing about how to best implement it as languages and programming environments have evolved. Now we are talking about clean code in the realm of nearshore outsourcing. This was inevitable, given the rise in nearshore as a better alternative to offshore outsourcing.
The nearshore environment is similar to offshore in some ways. By the same token, it can also be remarkably different. Take Austin-based iTexico as an example. Their nearshore subsidiary in Mexico is an integral part off iTexico’s overall success as a mobile app development firm. One of the first things one would notice about working with developers in Mexico as opposed to those in India is language. English will likely be the native language of an Indian developer but not of a colleague in Mexico. This is neither good nor bad, it is just different.
These kinds of differences explain why clean code is so important in the nearshore environment. Nearshore developers are creating mobile apps for customers in other countries and cultures. Most of what is produced by iTexico’s nearshore partner in Mexico is for the U.S. market. So clean code has to be created with that in mind.
What Is Clean Code?
Clean code is code that can be understood and modified by future developers with very little knowledge of the original developer or his/her intent. It tends to be modular in design and minimal in volume. Clean code is, for all intents and purposes, a model of efficiency and modularity within computer programing.
Genuinely clean code can be hard to define. Still, here are certain characteristics that make it recognizable:
- Clean code is focused
- The chosen language is a good fit for the code
- Redundancies are kept to a minimum
- Dependencies are also kept to a minimum
- Clean code is easily extendable
- Clean code is minimal code.
There is a tendency among mobile app developers to make some of their code just complex enough to create a proprietary ‘hook’ limiting developers who may want to modify the code in the future. Any attempt to intentionally inject complexity automatically disqualifies code as being clean. Clean means minimal wherever possible. It demands variables that can be easily understood and modified.
Why Is Clean Code So Important?
Clean code in the nearshore environment is imperative inasmuch as the mobile apps nearshore developers build are not being built to remain in-house. They are eventually sent to small businesses, large corporations, and enterprise-level customers who will inevitably need to modify that code at some point in the future. Not providing clean code is like building a car and making it too complex for the average DIY mechanic to modify at home.
At the end of the day, nearshore mobile app development has to keep in mind that the primary goal is to create products that belong to someone else. The nearshore developer is literally creating something that will be turned over to another entity to be used in any way they see fit. Despite all the developer’s hard work, the client may eventually alter the code so drastically that it barely resembles its original form. That is the nature of the beast.
Clients count on clean coding that will ultimately lead to a product that they can mold and make in their own image. If a nearshore partner is unable to produce it, that client will go elsewhere. That is also the nature of the beast.