The Relevance blog has an excellent post on simplifying code called Refactoring from Ceremony to Essence. In part it explains why people find Ruby on Rails to be a compelling alternative to J2EE, but it also illustrates a number of techniques applied by Ruby on Rails that could just as easily be used regardless of which language you’re using to develop your applications.
One point in their post directly addresses the “use less indentation” rule I posted about on Sunday. I spoke in favor of doing all of the basic sanity checks up front in a method and avoiding nesting, this post recommends leaving them out entirely:
Conditionals make code expensive to test; so ceremonial conditionals are a particular nuisance. Let framework error handling deal with missing data on the form.
I need to give that one a little more thought.