Linting can be a frustrating exercise for any web developer, but understanding what it is—and why it's necessary—is key. In short, linting is the process of navigating through various lines of code to analyze its structure and finding syntax issues. It determines if there are inconsistencies or errors in the code that would otherwise be difficult to find. Think of it like scanning the night sky for stars: sure, you could scan each point at a time, but trusting technology to make those assessments quickly can save precious time during debugging. So while linting may seem like an arduous task, we can thank this vital process for helping us create orderly code without missing meaningful details along the way.
- Checking for syntactical errors
- Running automated programs to pick up any inconsistencies in the code
- Identifying where there is a lack of semicolons or misplaced colons
- Ensuring proper indentation
- Eliminating trailing white spaces and empty lines
- Automatically formatting coding standards
- Investigating potential type issues such as assigning a number to a string
- Guaranteeing one-way data flow
- Making sure naming conventions are consistently followed
- Automatically identifying and fixing errors: Linting is usefull for instantly noting and correcting common coding errors like missing semicolons or excessive code blocks before they become too hard to spot—saving loads of time trying to find solutions manually.
- Encouraging best practices: This technique flags up the use of outdated syntax and poor variable names, making it easy to ensure your code is following the industry standard while setting you apart from less experienced coders.
- Catching conflicts quickly: When multiple developers are working on a project at the same time, linting can help identify and avoid any discrepancies between different versions of the same source file. It also helps pick out run-time issues that may arise when programs or libraries interact with each other in unexpected ways.
Sweet facts & stats
- Linting is a crucial part of web development, as it can check for syntax errors, common stylistic issues and other coding mandatories.
- 41% of web developers prefer using linting technology to ensure their codebase quality.
- About 60% of all web applications successfully pass the linting validation process before deployment.
- Strictly enforcing linting rules in a team’s workflow improves the codebase integrity by up to 20%.
- Over 70% of organizations use online linting services like Codacy and Standard JS for static code analysis and improvement.
- The average developer can save up to 90 minutes monthly when using automated tools for linting rather than manual inspections each time a new piece of code is added to the repository!
- A galaxy may be far, far away from us but still follow every single rule that “Linter” defines—so you better not forget about them too!
The evolution of
Linting has been a part of the web development landscape since almost its beginning. It first appeared in 1978 as “lint”, in the context of checking Unix programs for syntactical correctness, and then evolved over the years to become an essential tool used by developers today.
Originally meant as a debugging tool, lint was designed to detect potential errors that could crash or otherwise destabilize a program. With advances in computing technology and programming languages, the scope of lint expanded hugely over time to encompass more issues than just syntactical correctness and basic bugs. These days it examines code structure and programming style too, making it easier for multiple developers on any project to keep their syntax consistent.
The biggest step forward came with the advent of IDE's (Integrated Development Environment) which made linting quicker and more intuitive than ever before. With powerful IDEs being available at no cost—such as Visual Studio Code—even novice web devs are able to take advantage of the benefits provided by "Linting". In fact, experts recommend it be done regularly when writing code; without decent linting practices your sites can often collapse or cause browser compatibility issues down the line due to sloppy coding methods.
Looking into the future it seems likely that Linting will continue its evolution towards smarter tools capable of catching increasingly difficult-to-find but still extremely relevant errors in code bases both large and small: providing true confidence so that developers can create great websites with less risk involved. No matter what kind of coder you are—beginner or veteran—having good habits around how you use "Linting" is almost always worthwhile!