Code Smell 154 - Too Many Variables

Photo by Dustan Woodhouse on Unsplash

Code Smell 154 - Too Many Variables

Maxi Contieri
·Jul 31, 2022·

2 min read

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Table of contents

  • Problems
  • Solutions
  • Context
  • Sample Code
  • Detection
  • Tags
  • Conclusion
  • Relations
  • Refactorings
  • Credits

You debug code and see too many variables declared and active

TL;DR: Variables should be as local as possible

Problems

  • Readability

  • Code Reuse

Solutions

  1. Extract Method

  2. Remove unused variables

Context

Our code should be dirty when programming and writing test cases fast.

After we have good coverage we need to refactor and reduce methods.

Sample Code

Wrong

<?

function retrieveImagesFrom(array $imageUrls) {
  foreach ($imageUrls as $index => $imageFilename) {
    $imageName = $imageNames[$index];
    $fullImageName = $this->directory() . "\\" . $imageFilename;
    if (!file_exists($fullImageName)) {
      if (str_starts_with($imageFilename, 'https://cdn.example.com/')) {
          // TODO: Remove Hardcode
          $url = $imageFilename;
          // This variable duplication is not really necessary 
          // When we scope variables        
          $saveto= "c:\\temp"."\\".basename($imageFilename);
          // TODO: Remove Hardcode
          $ch = curl_init ($url);
          curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_HEADER, 0);
          curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_RETURNTRANSFER, 1);
          $raw = curl_exec($ch);
          curl_close ($ch);
          if(file_exists($saveto)){
               unlink($saveto);
          }
          $fp = fopen($saveto,'x');
          fwrite($fp, $raw);
          fclose($fp);
          $sha1 = sha1_file($saveto);
          $found = false;
          $files = array_diff(scandir($this->directory()), array('.', '..'));
          foreach ($files as $file){
              if ($sha1 == sha1_file($this->directory()."\\".$file)) {                         
                  $images[$imageName]['remote'] = $imageFilename;
                  $images[$imageName]['local'] = $file;
                  $imageFilename = $file;
                  $found = true;
                  // Iteration keeps going on even after we found it
              }
          }
          if (!$found){
            throw new \Exception('We couldnt find image');
         }
        // Debugging at this point our context is polluted with variables
        // from previous executions no longer needed
        // for example the curl handler
  }

variables

Right

<?php

function retrieveImagesFrom(string imageUrls) {
  foreach ($imageUrls as $index => $imageFilename) {
    $imageName = $imageNames[$index];
    $fullImageName = $this->directory() . "\\" . $imageFilename;
    if (!file_exists($fullImageName)) {
        if ($this->isRemoteFileName($imageFilename)) {
            $temporaryFilename = $this->temporaryLocalPlaceFor($imageFilename);
            $this->retrieveFileAndSaveIt($imageFilename, $temporaryFilename);
            $localFileSha1 = sha1_file($temporaryFilename);
            list($found, $images, $imageFilename) = $this->tryToFindFile($localFileSha1, $imageFilename, $images, $imageName);
            if (!$found) {
                throw new \Exception('File not found locally ('.$imageFilename.'). Need to retrieve it and store it');
            }
        } else {
            throw new \Exception('Image does not exist on directory ' . $fullImageName);
        }
    }

Detection

[X] Automatic

Most Linters can suggest use for long methods.

This warning also hints us to break and scope our variables.

Tags

  • Bloaters

Conclusion

Extract Method is our best friend.

We should use it a lot.

Relations

Refactorings

Credits

Photo by Dustan Woodhouse on Unsplash


Temporary variables can be a problem. They are only useful within their own routine, and therefore they encourage long, complex routines.

Martin Fowler


This article is part of the CodeSmell Series.

 
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