You may be a coder yourself or perhaps you’re looking for the best software company in Orlando to help you create your own software. Software development is no easy feat and to prevent small software development mistakes from being disastrous, it is necessary to employ good software developmental practices.
To make your project easier to manage, we have assembled a checklist of the best software development practices that every software developer, from beginners to experienced ones, should keep in mind when working on any project.
Software Development Best Practices Checklist
1. Split up your software development project into more manageable steps
Any software development process can seem overwhelming until it is divided into separate steps. Although it may seem tempting to get a project done all in one go, it is best to create a list of what needs to be done, rather than completing everything in one go without planning.
This is because you do not want to discover a mistake when you have reached the end of your software development project as all your work may have to be redone.
As soon as you start a project, it is best to immediately determine how the development can be achieved. Ask yourself where you should start and which parts need to be done first. Even those with the most software development experience often create lists of the proper order of tasks.
When creating your list of steps, keep in mind every action that needs to be completed. Once you get used to the practice of planning your course of action before every project, you will certainly personalize your way of planning. But until then it is best to list every action necessary, even the most basic obvious tasks, as those are the ones that are often forgotten in overwhelming projects.
Although it may seem obvious, make sure you check off your list every step you complete to ensure you don’t miss any tasks.
Splitting your project up into more amenable steps will not only ensure you do not make small avoidable mistakes, but it will also make you and your team more productive. With a comprehensive list, you can easily assign tasks to anyone else working with you or automate what you can to make your job even quicker.
2. Take your time and look over every line of code
Whether you are simply planning out your software development project or actually developing it, it is crucial you take your time, no matter how simple and obvious things may seem. Software development cannot be rushed, and when it is, there is almost always some major error that will turn up during the development process or after you have finished the software itself.
As mentioned above, it is often tempting, especially for more experienced software development industry experts, to just speed through the software development process while assuming you have enough experience to avoid errors. However, even with years of experience and after creating an extremely thorough plan of necessary tasks, mistakes can very easily be made, and will most likely be made.
It is best practice to simply take your time and avoid making mistakes when writing code. Assume you will make some errors, and double check every single section of code as you go.
When writing code, it is always important to keep in mind what the purpose of the project is. Though it may seem impractical to have to write a long and cumbersome code only to eventually optimize and clean up the software development later, spending the extra hours ensuring your code functions as it is supposed to will save you many hours down the line.
Written code can be fixed up and sped up in the editing and correcting stage, but if there is something fundamentally wrong with the code, you may have to restart and rewrite the entire thing.
Overall, keep in mind that even if writing code takes a long time, writing the code correctly the first time will always take less time than taking shortcuts and having to edit everything down the line.
3. Remember to test and double check every stage
Following in a similar vein as the step above, it is absolutely necessary to double check your software projects at every stage. Whenever possible, test your software to ensure everything is going as it should.
It is not unheard of for software developers to spend hours on a code without testing, only to realize after release that there are some fundamental issues that they had missed in the software development process or development life cycle.
Although there are almost always some small bugs, even with the most well written codes, some errors are more significant than others and they can easily make or break your reputation as a software developer.
To ensure you do not miss any coding or performance errors of any size or importance, it is necessary to conduct not only unit, usability and performance tests but also security tests, automated tests, load tests and integration tests.
If you are expecting your software to work on multiple devices, then it is necessary to conduct tests on every device you want to run your software on, including the oftentimes looked over mobile tests (on the various mobile devices.)
Since most software projects do have a deadline, it is necessary that you leave yourself a reasonable amount of time at the end of your project to test just about every aspect of your code.
When conducting tests, try to be overly-scrutinizing and exhaustive to ensure your final product will be optimized, reliable, usable and at the maximum level of functionality possible.
Overall, if you aren’t conducting all of the necessary software development tests, your software users will unintentionally be doing so. And it is better to delay a software development project than release a final product with obvious or even hidden flaws or bugs.
4. Use repositories throughout the entire software development process
Even the most simple software development projects will require large and extensive coding, which can become difficult to manage and keep in one place. This is where coding or software repositories become necessary.
A software repository (commonly shortened to “repo”) is essentially a digital storage location for all of your code. You can keep all of the software, including every edit, in one, easy to access place.
Another benefit of a software repository is that you can easily share all of the data with the other coders and project managers.
Although it is usually necessary for you to upload your projects to a repo, many coders, especially new ones, make the mistake of not uploading every single stage of their project to the repo from the very beginning.
Since a repo will store every version of your code in one place, you can easily restore your code in case of any errors. You can compare the different edits to ensure your corrections are doing what they are supposed to do.
GitHub is one of the most commonly used repos. However, various software developers will have their software repository preferences. The reason GitHub remains one of the most popular repos is due to the fact that GitHub is a public repository, which means that the public has access to your code, and many will be willing to help if you have any developmental issues or mistakes you just cannot spot yourself.
As any coder knows, software development is no easy task and there is nothing more devastating than losing your hard work and having to restart. This is why it is best you upload every step of your software development project directly into GitHub or any of the various other software repositories available.
5. Make sure you document every part of your project, no matter how insignificant it may seem
When using repositories, it is necessary to document every step of your software development. Even the errors in your code should be documented.
One reason documenting your entire software development project is necessary for software development is to ensure software users can understand how to troubleshoot any issues they might run into when using your software. When every aspect of your code is documented, it will be so much easier to create a troubleshooting handbook for your software’s users.
The other important reason for documentation is that no matter how well written your code is today, your software will need to evolve as technology advances. If you continue to be the main software developer on the project, you will need to fix bugs and introduce new features into the app over time. Sometimes, this will be easier to do on an older version of the app rather than the current version.
In the other case, if the software is passed onto another developer, the new developer will struggle to make the necessary adjustments without the entire documentation of every version of the code.
Proper documentation of all of the software’s versions will help not only the next software developer, but also your own future coding projects, where you may want to refer to an old code that was previously successful.
Documenting everything as you go is a simple task that may not only save you time in the future, but also software developers working on your projects for the next decades.
Although software development or writing code is never a simple process, you can certainly make things easier and avoid making unnecessary mistakes by applying the tips from this software development best practices checklist.
The most important things to keep in mind when coding anything are to break down your large project into smaller more manageable steps, take your time, double check, document and test everything. Use a software repository from the very beginning of your project. The most common and hardest-to-resolve issues in coding often arise from overlooking the most seemingly obvious steps.