Time for a “misguided projects” rant – better buckle up, it’s going to be all over the place.
We’ve all been there – working happily away on our project with the timelines in place, thinking that things are going to be just fine and dandy. Then, the malevolent spirit of feature creep (let’s call him Steve) comes in, sneaks into the safety that is your cube, and shakes things up a bit. Steve’s only goal is to come in and make you freak out. No, Steve doesn’t have to be a person, but he’s all too real for too many developers out there. They come into the project, look over the spec, and think to themselves “this doesn’t look so bad…I can just use this here and that there”. They place the sheet back on the table, look around at all of the other happy faces and think maybe, just maybe, this time things will be different.
Well, not if Steve has anything to say about it. No, I’m not talking about a specific situation here – I’m just blowing off some steam. Between dealing with other companies/other developers that just don’t understand your deadlines and having a Steve on your back, development just isn’t something to be taken lightly.
Have you ever started working on something, gotten about 30 minutes to an hour into it and realised that there was a much better way to do it? Sure, some people immediately jump to the “well, you should have planned more” argument, but sometimes, that’s just not good enough. There’s those out there that will tell you that there’s only “One Best Way” to do things when it comes to web programming (or just programming in general). So, who else out there wants to help me prove them wrong? Sure, there are best practices and all, but that doesn’t mean that there’s no room for flexibility. Too many developers are loosing that touch, it seems – they look at code, see that it’s a pretty dang good way to do things, and just keep using it over and over until something better comes along. Does this mean that you should rework every bit of code that you come across to make it better? Of course, not – that can only lead to a wee bit of insanity (and possibly a visit from Steve).
Instead, look at what you’re working with – whether it’s your own code or someone elses, and see if there are any glaring mistakes. Unfortunately, a lot of the PHP code that’s out on the repositories (save the stuff that people charge for…well, okay, some of that too) is “newbie code”. Not all of them are new to the language, but unless you get a little further on in development years, there’s just some things that you miss. No, I don’t have a particular list in mind of “Top 10 Newbie PHP Mistakes” (maybe I should make one), but most of the more seasoned developers out there know what I mean.
Maybe we should start a list in the comments….hmm….any takers?
*whew* okay – that’s enough for now. Sorry for my meandering mind, it takes me for rides too sometimes. Anyway, if you have any comments or want to contribute to the “Top 10″ idea, leave some comments below…