An application, web and/or mobile application, if it handles your core business functionality, it is important to develop it in such a way that it is efficient, robust, easily maintainable and most importantly, it helps you achieve your business goals.
Outsourcing is quite common in the world of application development, as it allows you to focus on your core business while a person/company with expertise handles the rest.
Every application development process requires several people with different roles like project manager, UX/UX designers and developers, coders, testers, etc.
The success of the application decides the success of your business. The code is the core of the application. If there are any problems with the coding technique itself, you will face serious consequences in the future.
To make your life easier, we have created a list of 8 characteristics of coding that you should demand from your service provider.
Top 8 coding characteristics that will decide the success of your application
Every application development project requires a minimum of 2-3 programmers who take care of coding, code-review, debugging, etc.
However, if your code is complicated or, tough to comprehend, it becomes difficult to read and debug the code if errors are occurring due to missed test cases.
However, the bigger the project, the more difficult it becomes to identify bugs which results in more lead time.
“Programs must be written for people to read, and only incidentally for machines to execute.”
– Harold Abelson, Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs
Eventually, you will be putting your business’ reputation at stake.
Your service provider should ensure that every application developed at their end comes with a readable code. Introducing comments within the code and ensuring proper formatting of the code can make it easier for other developers to read and maintain the code.
Every application contains many functionalities that are repeatedly used throughout the application. Such functionalities should be packaged into modules.
“When it comes to writing code, the number one most important skill is how to keep a tangle of features from collapsing under the weight of its own complexity.”
– James Hague
This way, the developer team does not have to redevelop and test those functionalities again and again. Also, if there are any errors or bugs in those modules, your developer will solve the error in that module at once and it will solve the issues for all the other modules that were using that functionality.
This reduces the lead time drastically and improves the maintainability of the code.
The idea is to improve the performance of the application, thus optimising the usage of resources. With fewer operating resources needed, the application reduces the overall risks associated with application development and improves usability as well as the cost-effectiveness of developing the application.
When you are creating an efficient code, you need to make sure that there is no unnecessary code in the algorithm. Apart from this, you should use optimal memory as well as non-volatile storage capabilities. Reusing the components is one of the best ways to increase code efficiency.
Finally, designing an algorithm that matches the flow that you have designed can also increase efficiency.
Maintaining the checklist for deployment
We are all aware of the development checklist, which checks for the flow, algorithm and logic that needs to have ensued into your coding.
However, most often, many developers ignore the deployment checklist, which is equally important.
All applications are developed under staging and production environments. Maintaining the deployment checklist will ensure that all the necessary elements are carefully deployed, and there is reduced scope for errors.
Without a deployment checklist, chances are you might miss out on a particular functionality or code or configuration, which will cause errors in the application, thus increasing application downtime.
Error & Exception Handling
Efficiently handling the errors and exceptions is an important step towards improving the User Experience.
While the end-users may not be able to differentiate between the errors and exceptions, it is important to customize the messaging on the UI so the user will find a way to get out of that situation.
For instance, entering a wrong URL path results in loading a page that does not exist. The user will consider this as an error.
You need to make sure that the messages that are passed to the users are clear, and help them understand what just transpired. For instance, when they land on a wrong page, the page should read Error 404, page not found.
Most of the users don’t report errors occurring in the system. Hence, the developers must implement/enable the error logging system, so they will know about the errors even without the users reporting about it.
This will reduce the churn rate of your application.
Does your service provider document all the aspects of the project? Do they have a proper process as well as a manual that maintains all the aspects related to the coding of your application? If the answer is no, then it is best to bid goodbye to your provider right away.
Documentation is one of the key aspects of any development project.
When you outsource your work to a company, chances are their development team will change.
New developers who come on-board do not know about the project, and they are expected to see through the maintenance, testing, and other aspects of an on-going project. In case you need some updates, the new team will be responsible for the same.
If they have to go through the code or, keep using trial and error methods to get things done, it will not only take a long time but also eat up your resources and cost.
Documenting the first lap of the project will help save time, money, and efforts spent by new developers.
Code Review Process
In the Code Review Process, the code developed by one coder is reviewed by another coder. While this process does not take much time, it helps find and solve potential bugs/errors before the code is submitted to the testing team.
The Code Review Process can also ensure other coding principles like Readability, Maintainability, Efficiency, etc. are followed while writing the code.
Version Control System
A Version Control System helps keep track of the changes made to the code. If you ever want to go back to a particular version of the code or, you want to track the revisions made to the algorithm, the version control system makes it easier and faster.
The repository helps you store all the changes you have made to the code since you started working on the application. The copy of the work allows you to make changes without impacting the actual version of the code.
Suppose you deploy the code, but immediately end-users find an error that can take at least 1 hour to solve. Your developer should be able to roll-back to the previous STABLE version of the code immediately in such a case. You can achieve this by properly implementing the Version Control System for your project.
A software solution is a core to increase business productivity as well as efficiency. However, when you are choosing a developer/company for your application, make sure they follow the following recommendations:
- They have a checklist for both development and deployment in place, which will help them code and upload an error-free application.
- They have defined application development best practices that allow them to create high-quality and standardized applications that meet the norms.
- Documentation is at the heart of every project. Don’t exclude this at any cost.
- They develop code that is readable, manageable, modular, reusable, and robust. This will help increase the longevity of the applications and increase the efficiency of the code.
- They have best-in-class testing tools and have adopted a version control system to make your application development and deployment process smooth and seamless.