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Posted Friday, December 19, 2014 by DAN SILIVESTRU , Contributor
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The 12 Good Deeds to Get You On The Developer ‘Nice’ List This Year...
As the end of 2014 quickly approaches, we know that many developers are working on their New Year’s resolutions. Some developers may be on the ‘Naughty’ list this year for neglecting to take important measures while writing their code and building their software projects.
With the holidays just around the corner, we are here with The 12 Good Deeds To Make Sure Every Developer Gets Onto The ‘Nice’ List and to make 2015 your best coding year yet.
For those of you who have been relatively good this year, here are 6 quick fixes to improve your code:
Use a source control system. We hope you already are, but if you’re not… this is a must. We highly recommend using git and that you sign up to https://www.github.com or https://www.bitbucket.org to get your team coding collaboratively. These are our suggestions, but feel free to select a source control system that best suits your needs.
Write good commit messages. Proper commit messages aren’t just for your benefit, they help the entire team understand what was done and why. Click here to read more.
Record your tech debt. You know when you are cutting a corner, make sure you log it. It’s easy to forget about the shortcuts you take throughout the development of a feature. Accumulating tech debt is like going into overdraft in your bank account. Ignore the payments for too long and you’ll be overwhelmed by the interest.
Make time to address tech debt. Make sure that you give yourself and your team the time with each work sprint to address accumulated tech debt. Dedicating around 15% of the sprint to tech debt should be your goal.
Follow the ‘Boy Scout’ rule. Always leave your campsite cleaner than it was when you arrived. This applies to your code as well, if you see a blemish when implementing a feature or fixing a bug, clean it up.
Meet fellow developers. Get out to local meetups and meet other developers. You’ll be surprised what you can learn and what new directions they can point you in. Have a look on meetup.com and lanyrd.com to start.
Now for those of you who may need a little more help getting on to the nice list, here are some fixes that will require a little extra work:
Split code into smaller, more manageable chunks. Long files, functions, and modules are harder to follow. Consider splitting them into smaller more atomic chunks. Think of it this way: if you have to use the word “and” to describe what piece of code does, it can likely be split up into smaller pieces.
Learn your code editor (or try a new one). Code editors have become extremely powerful and are built to help you navigate and refactor your code. Whether you’re using vim, Sublime, Visual Studio, etc., they all have powerful features and plugins. Take the time to learn them, you won’t regret it.
Take full advantage of dot files. dot files are typically used for configuration. For example, ignoring files in your git repository using a .gitignore file, setting up coloured git branch names in your terminal, etc. They can be a bit of a pain to set up, luckily lots of people are sharing theirs.
Try looking at the code rather than the documentation. If you are using an open source library, rather than reading the API docs try to understand what is going on in the code. It’s also a great way to learn from multiple coding styles. Besides, docs are sometimes out of date (by the way, this is a great opportunity to contribute to an OS project and help update their docs).
Learn to program on a smaller scale (Arduino, Raspberry Pi, etc) Understanding how to write code when you’re in a resource constrained environment can help you write more efficient code in general. The limitations can be an interesting and fun challenge.
Use tools. There are many many tools out there to make your life easier. From linting your code, to automating your build process, as well as dozens of other tasks. They won’t all fit, but you should definitely take the time to explore them. Click here for a great place to start.
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