Anti-patterns are patterns in software development that are considered bad programming practices. The exact definition is “An Anti-pattern is a literary form that describes a commonly occurring solution to a problem that generates decidedly negative consequences.” More understandably put, an anti-pattern is a way of not solving a problem. Anti-Patterns are said to be the opposite of Design Patterns, for instance, with Design Patterns, users usually start with a well-defined problem and identify the best path to take to the solution, whereas with Anti-Patterns, they begin with a failed solution, which can be challenging and usually further complicate matters.

I found a video online that I found easy to follow along to by Andy Sterkowitz on 5 programming anti-patterns that was specifically geared towards beginners. The first anti-pattern he spoke about was ambiguous naming; ambiguous naming of variables, functions and classes. He explains that when you’re writing code, your variables should be well named, to make your ( or another’s) comprehension of your code easy. He suggests really thinking about what you’re planning on naming things within your code to simplify things. The second anti-pattern he spoke about was magic strings and numbers.

if (age > 21) {
// do something
By the context of this, obviously you’d be checking for the legal age.. but you can’t assume that this information is known.

The third anti-pattern is called lava flow. He compared this anti-pattern to how lava flows continuously and hardens along the way, saying that as a programmer early on, you think you’re just creating all these small little apps you might need but you’re actually making parts of your application warped or hard to develop. He suggests to use Git to modify and make changes to your code instead of building a whole bunch of different sections. The fourth anti-pattern he talked about was cut and paste. What that means, he says, is when you see a code and there are ten or so different functions that all just say the same thing basically. He suggests to instead make one function that does everything or even one class. Doing this will save you time from having to go back through each and every function and modify one thing. The fifth anti-pattern he talked about is called the poltergeist pattern. Andy explained that this is basically just code that doesn’t serve a true purpose, like a class that just calls upon another class.

Through this video, I learned that the best way to write code is to not have a lot of code and to really make sure you have strict guidelines about when it is appropriate to make a new class, method or function. Andy gave a lot of useful and helpful tips on how to improve my coding skills and what common mistakes I should avoid doing in the future. He used easy to grasp and very relatable metaphors and comparisons to real life that made understanding his explanations of the patterns easy and interesting. While watching this video I had quite a few “wow, that’s really helpful.” moments and I realized there are a few things I should and will be changing from here on out to tidy up my code.

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