During the years I’ve seen a lot of different ways of commenting code – some good
and some bad. My personal favourite way of commenting code is by using the XML comment
feature of C# and VB.NET, but the important part of commenting code is not how you
do it, but what you write in them.
Methods are the most challenging members to comment, because they perform an action
and can contain many lines of code compared to e.g. properties. Because of their relative
complexity they need to be well commented, so lets take a look at what that actually
Answer the questions
The XML comments of a method needs to answer three simple questions: What, why and
how. The simplest is “what”. In a class called Dog there is a public method called
Bark() and the comment that answers the "what"-question could be Makes the dog
bark out loud.
Next we want to answer the "why"-question and it is a bit trickier. The answer must
tell you why this method has a reason to exist. For the Bark() method it could be The
dog has to bark every day, otherwise it will get depressed and violent.
Last but not least we need an answer to "how". This one can be very hard to write
and not all methods need it answered. You need to understand the "how"-question as
a question about the workings of the method in non-technical terms. So the answer
to the "how"-question on the Bark() method could sound something like The dog
can not bark if it is eating or drinking, so if it does, it first needs to spit it
To make sure that all three questions get answered as often and detailed as possible
and needed, we can use a simple scheme in the XML comments. Here is an example of
such a scheme.
the dog bark out loud. (what)
dog has to bark every day, otherwise
will get depressed and violent. (why)
dog can not bark if it is eating or drinking,
if it does, it first needs to spit it out. (how)
public void Bark()
By using the same scheme every time you comment, it get’s easier to write and understand
and the code gets well documented. It is not important what the scheme looks like
as long as the three questions get answered.
Remember that you don't need a reason to answer all three questions - you need one
not to. As soon as you get that rule under your skin, it gets easier to
uphold every time and before long it gets part of the daily coding routine.* $4.95/month ASP.NET Hosting with FREE SQL 2012 DB! – Click Here!