For years, Microsoft Visual Studio (Visual Basic and C++) are two of the most commonly used programming tools most specifically for developing Microsoft Windows applications. Completing your software and for it to run as you have intended it to be is really good but to make your software efficient is another thing.
Let’s say you’ve created your own calculator using Visual Basic. It has simple math functions including addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, percentage, square root, and fraction capability. So you ran it and it completely worked and all the buttons are functioning as you wanted it to be. But you then notice that your system becomes sluggish and it takes time for your programs to respond while running the calculator.
Aside from performance, there are other factors that make an application more efficient. The less size it is, the better. This will ensure that your software can be used by users with slower PCs and less code means lesser requirement from your hardware. Even fast computers may have a hard time with your application if it isn’t written efficiently. There is also functionality and being user friendly. Giving your users a hard time navigating isn’t going to help even if you have a complete set of codes. Here are some tips that I’ve been doing the past years that could help you make better applications.
Manage your layout properly. Nothing’s more irritating than using a software that is hard to use. It doesn’t happen often though but some examples are software that has 50 buttons all cramped up together. It would be time consuming to look for something that you need. Group them together instead using frames or tab so that the user can look for something he/she needs easily. Use alternatives such as menu bars. It will probably save you time, effort and space. It is applicable for almost types of controls.
Avoid too much comment. Adding comments to your code is fine. It does help in debugging your code as well as giving a short description on what it does. But it isn’t advisable to put paragraphs as comments or put comments before or after every line of code. It’s very confusing especially if others want to view your code. It also uses up some of your disk space. It may be small but for some PCs, every byte counts. Be concise and accurate.
Use global variables if applicable. If you will use the same variables for different functions (e.g. using 2 numbers to add and then subtract), set it as global. If can avoid assigning multiple variables for every function, that would be good. It does have benefits since first and foremost; you won’t get confused what variable to use and it saves memory and disk space. Using up a lot of memory may slow your PC down and having lots of variables may eat up a chunk of your memory space.
Manage your loops well. Sometimes, errors may occur or the PC may even hang up when loops aren’t used correctly. It’s perfectly fine to use loops especially if it is vital to the function of the software. But loops within loops that are within loops in another loop may not be efficient at all. Aside from making it hard for you to follow how the program runs, it doubles the usage of your PC’s computing power. It may slow down your software or even your entire system. Test your loops well before proceeding to another part of the code.
Re-use your code as much as you can. There’s probably nothing else that could waste lots of space than writing the same code again and again. If you have to use a certain group of lines over and over, just turn it into a function or a procedure so you just have to call it using just 1 line or maybe a few more instead of re-writing 50 more lines that do the same thing.
Visual Basic and C++ aren’t that hard but aren’t that easy as well. Take your time in learning and apply what you have learned. Planning on how to make your applications run efficiently will be up to you. You can plan ahead and optimize the application before testing it or wait until it’s finished and make it more efficient afterward. In the end, a well-written and well-designed application not only makes it easier for your PC to run it but will make your users more comfortable in using your software.