Hardcoding is the practice of embedding things in code and softcoding is the use of configuration and parameters. In the past, hardcoding was a common problem whereby things that clearly needed to be configurable were stuck in code. Generations of programmers were taught to avoid hardcoding. This has resulted in the opposite problem of excessive softcoding. In some cases, code is wimpy about implementing logic and pushes everything into numerous configuration files. The result is bloated code that shifts errors from compile time to runtime where they are more difficult to detect. In some cases, softcoding results in something resembling a bizarre proprietary scripting language.
In many cases, hardcoding vs softcoding comes down to factors such as programming style and team culture.
Placement of values and functions in code.
Placement of values and functions in configuration and parameters for use in code.
Rules of Thumb
Hardcore what can reasonably be expected to require a programmer to change. Softcode to allow business, operations and users to modify software functionality without a programmer.
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