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Thomas Sentre
Thomas Sentre

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7 Best Practices for Software Developers

Software development is a complex and ever-evolving field that requires developers to constantly adapt to changing technologies, tools, and methodologies. To succeed in this field, it's essential to adopt best practices that enable you to write high-quality, maintainable, and efficient code. In this article, I’ll reveal 7 essential best practices for software developers that can help you become a more effective and efficient programmer.

1. Choosing the proper technologies

When starting to develop an application, one of the critical decisions to make is deciding which technologies to use, such as programming languages, frameworks, libraries, and databases. While it may seem prudent to rely on technologies you are already familiar with, this may not always be the best approach. The application itself often dictates certain restrictions regarding the technologies that can be employed.

For instance, when creating a mobile application, numerous technologies can be used ( native programming languages, react-native, flutter...), but when developing a similar application repeatedly, it may be more judicious to use technologies that you are already proficient with. Ultimately, the decision of which technologies to use requires careful consideration and evaluation of the specific requirements and constraints of the application at hand.

2. Choosing the proper tools

As a developer, you should always choose the proper tools that best fit your software development process. This makes your process more efficient and also helps you in the development life cycle. There are many tools to automate tasks in the development process, and it is a good way of avoiding mistakes that occur in repetitive tasks. Of course, the tools you use will depend on the process and the technologies you’re using.

3. Minimizing the amount of coding

A common good practice is to minimize the amount of coding. This is really sensible because it makes code maintenance and testing much easier. DRY (short for Don’t Repeat Yourself) is a common principle in software development. The basic idea of DRY is to reduce the amount of code by avoiding repetition in it.

It is always a good practice to split your source code into smaller components and elements because smaller units are always easier to manage. Of course, the optimal structure depends on the programming language you are using. One good statement is also Keep it Simple, Stupid (KISS), which should guide you in the right direction.

4. Coding conventions

Coding conventions are a set of guidelines for a specific programming language that recommend programming styles, practices, and methods for each aspect of a program written in that language. It makes the code more readable and easier to maintain. Naming conventions define how variables, methods, and more should be named. Naming is really important because it helps developers understand the purpose of a certain unit in a program.

The layout convention defines how the structure of the source code should look. For example, indenting and the use of spaces. The commenting convention defines how the source code should be commented on. Quite often, it is good to use some standardized ways of commenting, such as Javadoc with Java. Most software development environments and editors offer tools that help you with code conventions. You can also use code formatters, such as Prettier for JavaScript.

5. Testing

Testing is one of the most essentials points every developer should remember while developing an application. Testing your code helps you to write efficient code and avoid delivering substandard code. It also helps to detect and protect against bugs in the future.

6. Code reviews

Mistakes are an inherent part of software development, and recognizing this reality is the initial step toward embracing the value of a code review. Enlisting the help of a colleague to review your pull requests before merging is an effective means of ensuring the overall quality of the code. Code reviews enable the team to identify possible flaws that might otherwise remain undetected during testing, resulting in significant time and cost savings. By enhancing the code quality early in the software development process, a comprehensive code review minimizes the chances of bugs and errors entering the project. Therefore, investing in a thorough code review process can significantly improve the final outcome of a project.

7. Documentation

In software development, documentation is a key activity that must not be ignored. The more detailed and defined documentation of your project, the better your team will understand what they need exactly to achieve to make your product thrive.

The codes are needed to be reviewed, unit tests, and automation tests apart from writing, and designing. Documentation is given the least attention which is not right. Documentation is one of the best solutions that can help you in the future if you want to make any changes. It’s very important to take out the extra time to write a proper description that will help in saving a huge amount in the future.

Summary

In this article, we have explored 7 essential best practices that every developer should follow, from choosing the right technologies to implementing effective code reviews. By implementing these practices, you can improve your skills and efficiency as a developer, and deliver better software products to your clients or end-users.

Now it's your turn to take action! Incorporate these best practices into your development process, and continually strive to improve your skills and techniques. By doing so, you can become a more effective and efficient software developer, and take your projects to the next level.

THANK YOU FOR READING
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Top comments (6)

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crisarji profile image
crisarji

Documentation is listed last, ironically it will we top 1 after a few months after not touching your code!.

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titanxtream profile image
Tamojit Bhowmik

That is absolutely perfect. I didn't tried it my 1st year at coding and messed up but now I follow almost all the above steps and I went to the next level.

It is called proper planning and execution. Try it...

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benbenlol

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GitProtect Team

How about GitHub/GitLab/Bitbucket and Jira backup?

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mattholley profile image
matt-holley

This article's insight is juvenile at best. "Minimize code", "choose the best tools", "test"...

Visualizing Promises and Async/Await 🤯

async await

☝️ Check out this all-time classic DEV post