Five Tips to Make Software Development a Better Experience
Every developer has experienced this at one point in their career: they are either asked to create a software from scratch or asked to fix a botched and nearly unreadable code. When either of those things happen, all of us crack our knuckles and get to work. However, there are a couple of things you should be doing before you begin and a few things you need to keep in mind after the fact. Five things, to be exact. Let’s get right into them.
Tip 1: Refresh Your Memory
No matter how much experience you have, it’s always good to refresh your memory from time to time.
Tip 2: Don’t Overcomplicate It
Simplicity is king! In the world of coding, we all know that complications happen, but complicated problems don’t need complicated solutions. Always put simplicity first — think of the simplest way to solve the problem, and then expand from there to find the best solution.
Before you begin the project, ask yourself if it could benefit from low-code or no-code. If it can, this will save you a bunch of time and work, as everything you need with low-code and no-code is built right into the platform.
If low-code and no-code aren’t an option, take a moment to plan the development to make it as simple and streamlined as possible.
This tip works in tandem with the next one, so don’t skip it!
Tip 3: Make the Code Readable
Having an unreadable code is like asking your client to pick up a physics book and expecting them to understand it right away. It can be the same for you too — trying to decipher a poorly written code that you didn’t write can take a lot of brainpower.
That’s why having a simple and readable code is so important, not only for developers, but for the client too.
Unfortunately, there are no handy metrics for evaluating this characteristic. The only thing you can use to judge this (other than how well the code runs) is your intuition. So, how do you make a code readable from the start? Be proactive!
Software development is rarely just writing the program — you need to consider future updates and development, marketability, and solving problems before they are found. So plan, plan, and plan more! Quality programs make the code easy to understand and read, they can be easily extended, interact well with other software, and their support does not become a nightmare.
Tip 4: Communication is Key
While communication with the client and your team is essential, that’s not the type of communication we’re talking about here. Software is only useful when it can communicate, exchange data, and can interface with other programs and softwares. After all, we can’t get an app on our phones if it doesn’t communicate well with the app store!
So when you’re writing software, keep in mind that it needs to work in many different environments, in different timezones, and with different resources. The software has to work on screens of different sizes and orientations, with limited memory and low processing power.
For example, if the software is written for a web browser, it must work on all major browsers — Chrome, Edge, Firefox, and Safari to name a few. What about Mac vs. Windows? Or Apple vs. Android?
If the application is created depending on receiving data, it must continue to work even if the data connection is slow or absent for some time.Programs must be designed with this in mind.
Tip 5: Make it Easy to Update
Finally, save yourself or future software development teams a few headaches and make it easy to update from the get-go. No matter how experienced you are, something will eventually go wrong and break, or a bug will present itself.
If a program generates an error while running, it must be communicated and centrally recorded somewhere to be tracked. When a new error is reported, the person responsible for fixing it must debug, connect to the system at any time, obtain information about the execution context, and check the expected behavior of a system component.
The Biggest Takeaway: Think Beyond the Present
With software development, the biggest tip we can ever give you — the core idea that these tips are trying to convey — is to always think about the future. Think ahead, solve problems for people 5 years down the road (or make it easier for you to solve those problems), and always make sure your code can be picked up by anyone in the future without much problem.
Consider if others are able to read the code, or if you will be able to weeks down the road. If you’re confident that you will be able to, then the battle is half won! So go forth and code cleanly — future you will be happy you did!