How to Code a Love Letter to the Next Developer – Software


Respect for your code and the next developer should be at the center of all decisions.
photo by ThisisEngineering RAEng to Unsplash

As the digital age has exploded, the need for skilled coders and programmers in Australian businesses has also increased.

In fact, recent research from Indeed has revealed that programmers are one of the more jobs in demand in Australia, representing one of the largest number of positions and the greatest potential for growth.

Ultimately, writing code that other humans can understand is really what sets the skills of the two jobs apart. After years of working on startup and established projects, I realized that there is one primary factor a developer should take into account when making decisions: clean coding.

While it may sound overly simplistic, it has the ability to influence the entire lifespan of a project and its outcomes. What defines a project as successful often comes down to the notion of maximizing value for the company. So how can your business code maximize its value? Here I take a look at how reliable and adaptable code can be achieved.

Write and delete, then repeat

Yevgeniy Brikman, co-founder of Gruntwork, previously provided a rationalization method that I use widely. His 10-to-1 rule holds that for every line of code currently in the master branch, 10 lines will have been written and deleted. By revising your code according to this principle, it will be reliable, readable and primed to be quickly optimized. For many small businesses and startups, this is more valuable than achieving a state of “mature code”, which often involves long and uninterrupted periods of constant development and maintenance.

For example, at AgriWebb we have 1,412,670 lines of code in all of our key repositories, but we wrote 11,261,374 in total. This translates to an eight-to-one code churn rate. By all rules, this code is not mature, however, it is fully functional in its current state, providing real value to the business. What’s important to note is that different aspects of the business will have code at various stages of maturity, but what defines their value is their ability to respond and adapt with code. own. Undeniably, this approach to coding will take longer initially, but investing your time in clean coding will set your job up for long term success.

Write a love letter

For developers, viewing code as a love letter to the next team member, even if you’re the only one, helps maintain a coding standard across the board and lets you iterate quickly. It creates a code base designed for maintainability on which you can quickly develop and respond to a problem or a business opportunity. It works according to the proverb “slow is smooth, smooth is fast”, helping to optimize the whole, rather than rushing the immediate task and slowing down the overall process.

That doesn’t mean your coding has to be perfect, though. In fact, accepting that your version 1 product is likely to be wrong is the first step towards maximizing business value. What will achieve reliability, adaptability and added value is streamlined coding. This should be at the heart of all decisions and compromises made by a developer to ensure short and long term success and value.

In the end, there will never be one solution for all coding issues, but the key to remember is that respect for your code and the next developer should be at the center of all decisions. That respect, or treating your code like a love letter, will give you strength in performance, reliability and adaptability. By doing this, your code and your project will have the best configuration to succeed.

David Horne is AgriWebb’s Chief Technology Officer.


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