Deirdre O'Brien, SEO & Marketing
Deirdre is an experienced marketer and SEO expert who is passionate about creating content for everyone except herself! She previously worked as Head of Content & Publishers for a Marketing Tech Startup where she led paid and organic content strategy for a large portfolio of DTC brands.
All software engineers will tell you that there are many repetitive tasks they are faced with during the day that hinders them from being the most productive they can be.
Many of these tasks are unavoidable and a part of the job you can’t change, like manual code reviews and fixing what feels like a never-ending stream of bugs. According to engineering.com:
“engineers spent 28.0% of their working time engaged in problem-solving and thinking, 23.5% producing documentation, 17.1% in support and consulting, 13.7% gathering information, 7.8% planning, 7.6% negotiating, and 2.3% in other activities.”
While a number of these tasks like problem solving and thinking cannot be avoided, when we turn our attention to producing documentation and gathering information, that accounts for almost 40% of a software engineer's time! That's a massive chunk of your most valuable resource, so identifying ways that you can be more productive in these areas can make a real difference to your work output. The good news is that Codiga has developed a number of tools that have each been specially designed to save developers time and stress. Let's start with code snippets. Sourcing and reusing code snippets is an invaluable way to cut down on your coding time and help you get a task or project off the ground in record time. Just about every coder uses code snippets to stop them from needing to write lines of code repetitively, but not all code snippets are created equal!
Code snippets have many benefits, and at Codiga, we have taken these handy reusable blocks of code up a notch with the addition of Smart Code Snippets within our Coding Assistant tool. In this article, we’ll be explaining the benefits of code snippets, and how Codiga’s Smart Code Snippets blow regular code snippets out of the water.
Code Snippets explained
According to this beginner's guide to code snippets:
“the idea of snippets is that coders can build tiny functions or microservices that they can draw from later to automate or speed up some of the processes of writing a larger codebase. Large programs can oftentimes have complex and repetitive syntax and function, and reusing code snippets can result in codebases being more transparent and clear. One way to think about it is building with more defined code modules, rather than just building with raw code”.
Why use code snippets?
Well, that's easy; because why wouldn't you? Coders have a lot of tasks that keep them very busy in their day, and code snippets allow a software developer to avoid typing repetitive code during routine programming. Think of code snippets like building blocks of code that can be easily added and iterated to help speed up a project. It’s no secret that these patterns of code are being used industry-wide, making them one of the most valuable shortcuts for coders.
Benefits of Code Snippets
- Saves coding time as they cut down on unnecessary amounts of keystrokes and time spent writing the same line of code over and over
- Consistency: code snippets make it easier to remember specific formatting for functions. This is especially valuable for more junior engineers as some functions can be extremely complex and contain difficult-to-remember syntax, so having a large piece of reusable code already written can be copied in easily can help you keep your work consistent across the board.
- Sharable and reusable: code snippets can be kept and reused, and most importantly, shared among a team to ensure no one is doubling down on the same work
Downsides of Code Snippets
When it comes to the actual code snippets themselves, it’s hard to think of any downsides. However, sourcing the correct code snippet for the task at hand is where you may run into a number of issues. Firstly, the time it can take to find exactly what you're looking for can be frustrating. Most developers scour the web looking for code snippets that can be easily copied and pasted, however, this can mean that the code pattern is outdated, or contains bugs or defects that would take more time to fix than it would have taken to write the code from scratch!
Enter Codiga Smart Code Snippets
As mentioned previously in this article, code snippets can do wonders for your productivity, but sourcing and utilizing them in the right way can cause some headaches. That’s why Codiga created Smart Code Snippets to make these reusable blocks of code even more efficient and time-saving than they already are. Smart Code Snippets are just like regular code snippets, but so much better! In a nutshell( and we’ll get into this more in a moment) Smart Code Snippets allows you to find, add, store and use code snippets, without having to leave your IDE!
What makes Codiga’s Smart Code Snippets an even bigger game-changer for productivity is the fact that Codiga users gain access to a growing library of Smart Code Snippets that have been added and vetted by thousands of other developers who use our platform. This means you can say goodbye to wasted hours scouring the web for the right code snippet for the basis of your task.
Comparing Code Snippets and Codiga Smart Code Snippets
At their core, the two are similar in that they are patterns of code that can be easily added and adapted to speed up your coding time and reduce repetitive work that has been done by another. But, to put it simply, code snippets are the less advanced and more manual version of a Smart Code Snippet. Regular code snippets require a lot of research to find exactly what you’re looking for, and even when you find the perfect pattern of code, storing and sharing them among teammates and or for later use is where things get annoying. Smart Code Snippets are being constantly added by users within our network, and are readily available for you to search for and use on the Codiga Hub. Here, you can search for a Smart Code Snippet based on name, keyword, or tag. This growing database has thousands of existing Smart Code Snippets spanning multiple languages, and once you find one, you can favor it, which means it will populate directly in your chosen IDE, thanks to our handy plugins, available for VS Code, Jetbrains, and Chrome.
Outside of giving you access to a robust library of Smart Code Snippets for you to choose from, what sets Codiga apart is the fact that you don’t need to leave your IDE to populate a code snippet. Smart Code Snippets automatically populate when commanded in a matter of seconds, so you can continue your work without having to bounce around multiple windows or programs.
Lastly, Smart Code Snippets within our Coding Assistant tool acts as your own personal Code Snippet Manager, which will help you exponentially stay on top of your documentation. Once you have written a piece of code you want to store for later use or share with your team, you can do so directly in your IDE! So, while code snippets and Smart Code Snippets are the same at their core, the impact Smart Code Snippets can have on your productivity is night and day!
Using Smart Code Snippets
Once you have installed our plugin, then all of the features of Smart Code Snippets are available for you to use right away! To populate a Smart Code Snippet in your IDE, you simply need to favor it on the Codiga Hub. You can find them by searching by name, keywords or tags that are associated with the piece of code that you are looking for. Once you find one that you want to use, favor it, and it will then populate directly on your chosen IDE with just a few short commands.
Creating, storing, and sharing your own code snippets is also a breeze using the Coding Assistant tool! Smart Code Snippets can be created on our web interface, or directly in your IDE once you have a Codiga plugin installed. Once you have created or found a code snippet you want to share or save for a later date to help with future tasks, simply highlight it directly in their IDE, right-click, and select create Smart Code Snippet. From there, the piece of code will populate directly in our add Smart Code Snippet section, and you’ll be directed to add a name, language, a brief description, and most importantly, the keywords that will trigger the Smart Code Snippet to appear in your IDE.
Once saved, the Smart Code Snippet will be available instantly for use. It’s important to note that Smart Code Snippets can be added to the Hub publicly, meaning everyone using the Codiga platform can access and use it. But they can also be shared privately or with a specified team; the choice is yours! We get that sometimes certain code snippets need to be kept private, so when adding a Code Snippet, know that you cannot alter the visibility once it has been saved.
Smart Code Snippets are time-efficient for both individual coders and teams. For those who work alone, it’s an amazing tool because you can store all of your code snippets in one place and easily find them as you are typing. For those working in teams, it is very easy for everyone on your team to share their work with one another in real-time and can even mean you cut down on meeting time spent on planning. This also helps ensure constantly which will lead to more streamlined code reviews in the long run.
Code snippets are a no-brainer for all engineers, but Smart Code Snippets can help you cut down on time spent researching and documenting. Remember, that's almost 40% of your time, so we encourage you to check out Codiga’s Coding Assitant tool( it’s free!) so you can save yourself even more time!