7 Habitual Mistakes Most Developers Make

As a developer, you like doing things your way. I get it. However, exploring new technologies and trying new frameworks out is one of the most desired qualities for a developer. Here is a list of 7 Habitual Mistakes Most Developers Make that you must try and avoid to beat the crowd!

7 Habitual Mistakes Most Developers Make

1. Not Writing Human Readable Code

7 Habitual Mistakes Most Developers Make

Martin Fowler is a celebrated developer, author and international public speaker on software development. He has a very famous quote : “Any fool can write code that a computer can understand. Good programmers write code that humans can understand.”, and I cannot agree with him more. Programming isn’t just about typing something and getting the machine to produce the output. It is also about making sure the code can be passed on to other developers and ensuring that they will be able to build on top of it with ease.

“Any fool can write code that a computer can understand. Good programmers write code that humans can understand.”

Martin Fowler

Here are a few tips for writing better code :
1. Comment Early, and Comment Often : The best piece of code is the one that any human being can look at and understand what is happening. Writing comments is crucial for programs that are more than a 1000 lines of code.
2. Test it once, and then test it once more : Make sure you run your share of tests before deploying the code or sending it over for further development.

2. Incomplete Input Validation

7 Habitual Mistakes Most Developers Make

All apps or websites that are developed today have some sort of a form that the users need to fill. Entering improper information is one of the most embarrassing scenarios for the user. This is because if they enter an incomplete email or phone number and are still able to register or log in, they have to go through a lot of trouble to correct that error provided your code supports editing that information.

Here’s how to validate inputs better :
1. Specify the format : Mention the expected format of the input inside the field or just under it, so that the user knows exactly what you are expecting.
2. Validate twice : Perform both client-side validation and server-side validation to be absolutely sure of the correctness of the input. Trust me, this will save you loads of trouble later.

3. Wrong or Missing SEO

7 Habitual Mistakes Most Developers Make

As a developer, you need to understand the fact that SEO depends as much on the code you write as it does on the marketing tactics. Making sure your code follows all programming standards is equally important to ensure better SEO ranking for your product.

Here are a few tips to improve your SEO via code :
1. Use all the recommended META Tags : Developers often forget to write all the META tags required for SEO in their code. This leads to a major loss of ranking because crawlers use those META tags to identify the structure and basic information about the product or the website.
2. Write “alt” attributes for all media tags : Never leave the alt attributes empty, no matter what. Even if the image is not entirely relevant to your product, you must write alt information as long as that image is a part of your code.

4. Building too many things in the beta

7 Habitual Mistakes Most Developers Make

One of the most fundamental mindset problems we face as developers is finalising the features of the beta version. I get that you have the capability to write code and implement every feature one can think of, but the entire point of building the beta version is to test a limited set of features. Do not try to build everything in the beta. This will lead to major delays in launch and all that code of yours might never see the light of day.

Here’s how not to build too many things :
1. Trust the Manager : Do only what your Manager or Team Leader tells you to, feature-wise. If you come up with an incredible idea while working on the code, share it with them. If they like it, they will try and implement it.
2. Don’t take it personally : I get the fact that it is your code and beta releases tend to be buggy and not-so-good looking, but that’s the entire point. Have a little faith and patience. If everything goes right, you will get a chance to implement every feature you wanted to, and then some.

5. Rushing the Deployment

7 Habitual Mistakes Most Developers Make

Writing programs for our own use is fun and it makes perfect sense to deploy early and test them out ourselves while they are live. However, when it comes to writing programs for clients or other users, it is a bad idea. If a client finds a bug after you send them a live link, chances are they won’t appreciate it. So, make sure you test everything out on your end before you deploy things and send them over for testing by the clients/users.

Here are a few tips to not rush the deployment :
1. Involve the client in the testing process : Send a staging build to the client and let them test it thoroughly. The more bugs they find before the system goes live, the happier they will be. But then again, make sure they are fixed before the system goes live.
2. Do not test your own code : As developers, we have a tough time figuring out issues in our own code. No developer would be willing to admit they did something wrong. This is completely understandable which is why it is necessary to get the code tested by someone else.

6. Not Developing for Different Screen Sizes

7 Habitual Mistakes Most Developers Make

In this day and age where we have such a wide variety of devices ranging all the way from gigantic TV screens to smart-watches, it is important to keep in mind that a user can access your program, be it a website or an app on any of these devices. If it’s only meant for a laptop, chances are it will be made available for more screens in the near future. Your code should either already support this by using frameworks such as Flutter, React or BootStrap, or it should be flexible enough to do so in the future.

Here’s what to keep in mind when developing for multiple screens :
1. Use a Framework : It is a natural tendency as a developer to want to build everything from scratch, but it makes a lot more sense to use an already available framework that will make your code both future proof and easy to update in case the technology changes.
2. Make it Responsive : Make sure your programs are adaptable for at least 3 screen sizes by default : a laptop/PC, a tablet and a smartphone. If they support these devices, scaling the programs to support other devices will be way easier.

7. Finding comfort zone in just one technology

7 Habitual Mistakes Most Developers Make

Trust me when I say this, sticking to just one technology is the biggest career mistake you will ever make as a developer. I get it, I really do. When I started developing websites using PHP and MySQL, it took me a full 4 years to get out of it and switch to modern JavaScript Frameworks. But trust me, when the time comes, you have to make that choice and jump ship. Not only will it allow you to grow as a developer, it will also make you more relevant to the needs and requirements of that day and age.

Here’s how I convinced myself to make that decision :
1. Get out of the loop : I was using the same technologies for developing every project that came my way, by hook or by crook. I used to find deprecated plugins or libraries whose official support had ended ages ago and would make it work somehow. But it wasn’t going to last. The client requirements were evolving and that’s when I realised that my technology had to evolve too.
2. You are always a student : As a developer, I have come to accept the fact that I will forever be a student. New technologies and frameworks will keep showing up and I must embrace them and adapt to the changing times.

It is indeed a brilliant time to be a developer when everything is becoming digital at an unprecedented rate. However, avoiding these 7 Habitual Mistakes Most Developers Make will certainly help you improve your code become a better programmer.

Happy coding.

Written by Aquib Ajani for Tabdeel Studios.

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