One thing I’ve learned over the years is that being clever with your code is a waste of time and energy. The simpler, the better. Part of being “simpler”, to me, falls into the paradigm of “clean code”. But – what does “clean code” actually mean? In this post, we’ll look at what I consider to be a “clean(er)” conditional statement that reduces cognitive complexity/overhead.

For example, consider a “simple” authorization check (contrived, of course):

if(_authorizationService.HasClaim(Claims.Admin) || (_authorizationService.HasClaim(Claims.User) && _authorizationService.HasClaim(Claims.ModifyTimesheet))){
    // do something

That if statement is getting kinda hairy, huh? Take into consideration new folks joining your team trying to make heads or tails of that, too.

Yes, within a few seconds we gleam that if your an Admin or a User that also has the ModifyTimesheet permission, you should be allowed to //do something, but what if we just gave those “things” actual names?

Consider this refactor:

bool isAdmin = _authorizationService.HasClaim(Claims.Admin);
bool userHasPermission = _authorizationService.HasClaim(Claims.User) && _authorizationService.HasClaim(Claims.ModifyTimesheet);

if(isAdmin || userHasPermission){
    // do something

You can see we’ve introduced a couple of variables with very explicit names that we’ve swapped into the if statement. Now when you scan that code and come across that if statement, you don’t have to read into the logic to understand the condition that needs met. If you do care about what those two things are, then you can easily scan up to the variable declarations and “dig in” a little more.

Happy clean coding, dear reader!

This post, “Clean Coding in C# – Part I”, first appeared on

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