Tip: Get Your TODOs Out of the Comments

Developers in most projects I have seen try to establish some sort of convention around leaving TODOs in the code. The most common seems to be “if you see something funny, try to fix it immediately, but if it’d take too long and you’ve got something else to worry about, leave a comment next to it starting with TODO, your initials and maybe a date”.

You know what? Using comments for that is not as cool in Ruby, Python or Java, which has had static imports for a while now. How about creating a TODO method that takes in the initials, date and comment text, or whatever else you might find useful?

import static my.project.DevelopmentUtils.TODO;


public void doStuffThatSmellsFunny() {
TODO("CV, 21/jan", "Clean this mess up after fixing #3849");

There are some advantages to this: you can actually put some code inside that method to do, say, logging. Another good thing is that now the TODOs can be tracked using the same refactoring tools and features of modern IDEs as just any other code in the project.

It may seem a bit cumbersome, but I’ve been trying that for a few days now and it feels quite pleasant to use. I got my TODO method to just spit out the message to the console so when I run tests, I can quickly get an idea of what areas of the code touch stinky or incomplete ones.