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April 16, 2019 14:54

Hard-code OR Hardcoding (edit)

Hard coding (also, hard-coding or hardcoding) refers to the software development practice of embedding input or configuration data directly into the source code of a program or other executable object, or fixed formatting of the data, instead of obtaining that data from external sources or ...

When a literal value, such as 35, is written into a program. Values that are used often in a program are frequently better represented by symbolic constants rather than hard-coded values.

Hard Coding

“Hard coding” is a well-known antipattern against which most web development books warns us right in the preface. Hard coding is the unfortunate practice in which we store configuration or input data, such as a file path or a remote host name, in the source code rather than obtaining it from a configuration file, a database, a user input, or another external source.

The main problem with hard code is that it only works properly in a certain environment, and at any time the conditions change, we need to modify the source code, usually in multiple separate places.

Soft Coding

If we try very hard to avoid the pitfall of hard coding, we can easily run into another antipattern called “soft coding”, which is its exact opposite.

In soft coding, we put things that should be in the source code into external sources, for example we store business logic in the database. The most common reason why we do so, is the fear that business rules will change in the future, therefore we will need to rewrite the code.

In extreme cases, a soft coded program can become so abstract and convoluted that it is almost impossible to comprehend it (especially for new team members), and extremely hard to maintain and debug.


In computer programming or text markup, to hardcode (less frequently, hard code ) is to use an explicit rather than a symbolic name for something that is likely to change at a later time. Such coding is sometimes known as hardcode (noun) and it is more difficult to change if it later becomes necessary. In most programming languages, it is possible to equate a symbol with a particular name (which may also represent a number) value. If the name changes, the symbol stays the same and only the equate line of code needs to be changed to reflect the new name. When the program is recompiled, the new name is picked up wherever the symbol occurs in the code. Although there are search-and-replace tools that can change all occurrences of a given name, program code is very unforgiving in case a small error is introduced, and it is safer to have a single place in which such a change can be made. For this reason, hardcoding is usually a practice to be avoided.


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