Best Practices for Developers

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Have you ever being involved in a project where you had to develop a script and suddenly you lose track of how many versions you have? Or how about a time when you were almost finished with your project and suddenly your computer died and your changes were not saved? Well, in this article we will be discussing a few best practices for developers that will help you solve some of these problems. My name is Ricardo A. Chavez, and I am currently a Senior Software Engineer here at SFCG and have been for about 4 years. During this time I have come to learn some coding tricks that will help any developer make their code and scripts easier to understand. My learning experience also involved some best practices that any developer should follow in order to make their work experience the best one. Below I will share three best practices that I follow every time I am developing a new application for any of our clients.  

 

  • Use a Good Developer Tool

Your biggest weapon when developing a script or project is to use a good developer tool. They are software specifically designed to help developers write code in different languages. There are some built specifically for a single programming language like C#, but most of them are multi-purpose, being able to process several languages like PHP, HTML, Javascript, etc. I have found out throughout my years as a developer that the best and easiest tool to understand and use is NetBeans. It allows for easy and efficient project management, highlights places where there might be bugs or errors, and allows you to write applications in several programming languages. If there is a tool you were looking for, this is the one!

 

  • Always Save Your Code

You would not believe how many times I have been writing code on my laptop when suddenly something might make it crash or shut down. At this point the whole project will be lost and the need to start from scratch will arise. A good practice is to always save your code whenever you finish a small piece of logic. This could be a function, a loop, or just some comments about what your logic will do. A good practice is to also save a “master version” of your code that will be used in case you might need to revert to a previous version.

 

  • Backup Your Project

This is the big one. Let’s say that you are working on your project, you finished it, you tested it, and everything works great so you push it to production and everything is right. Then suddenly the server where your code is hosted might crash and all your hard work is deleted without you being able to recover it. It is then that you realize your code was not backed up and there is no way for you to get it back. A good practice is to also save your code locally, however what would happen if your laptop/computer suddenly crashed and you have to delete your hard drive and install a new one? This is where websites such as BitBucket come in handy. This is a site where you can create repositories, upload your different script versions, download and copy previous projects and best of all, all of your stuff will be private meaning that only you will have access to your projects. Having a website where you can back up all your scripts is a good way of preventing situations as the example described at the beginning.

 

  • Communicate

This is habitually something that developers have trouble with. Most of the time, developers will let someone know when they start a project and once it is done. That is only two times that they communicated with someone, however this is one of the most important practices that need to be used. Clients are usually happy when they are given progress reports of the app they requested, and at the same time, your team members' work will be easier to manage if they know at what stage of development you are. A good practice is to communicate with your clients at least twice a week and let them know what the status of their app is while  also communicating with your team members about any potential roadblocks, updates, progress, etc, on a daily basis. This way you will be able to make sure expectations are set and everyone is on the same page to ensure a good project, 

 

These are only a few of the best practices recommended for developers, but they are the ones I apply every time I am building something for our clients. This way you will never lose track of how many versiosn you might have or worry about your code reverting to a previous version and you having to build it from scratch. Your clients can rest assured that their app will always be available and that they would have the latest and best version of it.

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