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Mel Reams

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Be a better programmer while still having a life: part 11

Don’t be a time thief. More precisely, if a decision has been made let it stay made. This tip won’t necessarily change your personal output a whole lot, although you will have more time for your own work if you don’t waste it rehashing old decisions, but it will be fantastic for your team’s productivity. Being a better programmer isn’t just about how much you personally get done, it’s also.. Read More

Be a better programmer while still having a life: part 10

A little bit of self-doubt is good for you! That might sound weird but hear me out. Doubting yourself just enough to accept the fact that you don’t know everything and will be wrong sometimes is incredibly useful in software development. So many projects have died when the thing that everyone assumed would be easy (or at least doable) turned out not to be. If you can accept that you could be.. Read More

Tip of the day

Remember how great Authenticator Plus is? Recently a coworker told me about another great thing it can do – categories! If you have 2FA set up for many accounts like I do, it gets to be a pain scrolling through that list to find the one you want. Categories to the rescue! From the settings menu go to manage categories, from there you can create new categories and put authenticators.. Read More

Be a better programmer while still having a life: part 9

Don’t reinvent the wheel! I’ve touched on this before, but it definitely merits its own post. A huge part of becoming a better developer is understanding when you don’t need to write new code to solve a problem. The more code you write, the more code you have to maintain, the more chances you have to screw it up, and the more time it takes to write it. So before.. Read More

Code smell: long parameter list

Today’s code smell is long parameter lists. If you have lots and lots of parameters, something is likely going wrong. Odds are good your method is just doing too much, which leads to confusing code that’s hard to understand and change. Another reason lots of parameters causes problems is that when you call that method, it’s very easy to accidentally get two parameters of the same type in the wrong order.. Read More

Code smell: feature envy

Today’s code smell is feature envy. Feature envy is when one class uses the methods of another class to excess. It’s called feature envy because classes that use methods from another class excessively look envious of that class’s features. The problem with that, as usual, is the way your logic gets spread around between multiple classes. If you have one method that’s using another class so much that it’s hardly.. Read More

Link of the day

Jessica Kerr has a really interesting blog post about how code reuse is often overrated. Back in college I learned all about how important code reuse was and how duplicated code was the worst, but we never (probably because we had a lot of material to cover in a limited time) talked about how code reuse can cause problems. Jessica gives a great explanation of how bad code reuse can.. Read More

Code smell: switch statements

Today’s code smell is switch statements. Long switch statements or complicated if statements often (but not always!) mean that something has gone wrong with your design. Objected oriented languages give you a lot of tools to avoid big complicated switches, if you aren’t using one of those there needs to be a good reason for it. If you’re not using an object oriented language, on the other hand, I’m honestly.. Read More

What’s a code smell, anyway?

Design is one of my favourite parts of programming, but I constantly run into the problem of how to tell whether my design is any good. Before we go any further, I think we should define what makes a good design is. My definition is that if you can change it in the future without cursing your past self, it must have been good design. You may have noticed that using.. Read More

Javascript tip of the day

Javascript has a delete operator! Okay maybe that’s not news for people who do more frontend work than I do, but I was surprised to learn that. If you have a javascript object and want to remove one of its properties, it’s really easy. All you need to do is delete object.property. There’s more detail here if you’re interested. Now if only it wasn’t such a hassle to iterate over.. Read More