Peter B. West wrote:
Glen Mazza wrote:
I noticed we had to break up a function to satisfy Checkstyle's max method length size of 150 ( http://marc.theaimsgroup.com/?l=fop-cvs&m=105806596213734&w=2). That seems too constricted for our use--it's may force parameter passing of local variables where none would otherwise be needed. I would double the limit to 300--the function above did not warrant rewriting--a better option may be to remove the limit entirely.
Combined, the two case statement blocks tripped Checkstyle's limit, causing Checkstyle to complain: so you placed both blocks into separate functions. But what if the second case statement was much smaller? Checkstyle wouldn't complain about the method containing on the switch statement, so *neither* of the two case statements would be placed into their own function. This seems too arbitrary: something in addition to method size should play a part in the decision to create new methods.
I tend to agree with Glen on this one. The limit seems too restrictive, and it is only a guideline - as are many of the other strictures of Checkstyle. They flag things which may make the code problematical, but they do not have the same simplicity as, e.g., tab width or format of names. If we follow them slavishly, we lose perspective on the code. I don't think things like method length should even be warnings; rather info flags, to indicate that something needs to be looked at.
I think it is instructive that neither of you commented on whether the changes that were made actually improved the code or not. I think you both need to either 1) show that the code was better before I changed it, or 2) realize that checkstyle did what it was supposed to do by flagging based on an admittedly arbitrary limit. I will go one step further and suggest that each of you find one 150+ line method in FOP's source code that would not benefit from refactoring into smaller methods. The truth is that I too am uncomfortable with a 150-line limit, and will argue against it if I ever think it is a problem. The simple fact is that every 150+ line method I have encountered so far needed to be broken up. There was nothing slavish about it. Some of the ones in question will benefit from being broken up even further. Some other day.
I didn't comment on the particulars because I was speaking generally about the way to react to the method length limit. I should have said that I was agreeing with Glen concluding remark, and I should have removed the rest of the posting. My apologies, Victor.
-- Peter B. West http://www.powerup.com.au/~pbwest/resume.html
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