Every developer knows that the tools is what makes or breaks a project. In this short post I will explain a few steps which will make you a bad developer. This might seem silly but right out of college I invested no time into studying these key points. Hindsight is 20/20 as we all know but I want to keep you from looking back and kicking yourself. Let’s take a ride on the knowledge express.
- Forgo Source Control
- Do not use a Password Manager
- Use a free hosting provider
1. Forgo Source Control
This is THE MOST important step in being a bad developer. Source control is easy to use and will save you in no time. Say you have just finished a feature on in a service on your app and you want to expand said service to add another feature. You start working on the new feature and the service quits functioning as it should. Your first thought is to hysterically hit ctrl+z and watch the text cascade to what you hope will take you back to a functioning service. Unluckily for you ctrl+z took you back too far or you had to close your editor and lost ctrl+z magic.
With the use of source control you can be back in time to a working service in just a few clicks. Never work outside of source control. My preference and that of the developer community is Git. Git is simple to use, it is quick, and can will save you time developing. Not to mention that you can setup auto CI/CD via Git commits. Purists prefer to use the command line for Git but I prefer the simple UI of Git Fork. There are some links below to get you started.
2. Use a Free Hosting Provider
This combined with 1. is the worst mistake I have made in my development career. Early twenties me was working on a state of the art meal tracker application which allowed you to track your meals macro nutrient ratio and add foods from a 3rd party source. I spent many a night working on this project all without source control. Mind you all through my college career (2006-2011) none of my professors mentioned using source control. I do not blame them as simple research would have led me to this path. This section is on free hosting provider.
I chose to use a free hosting provider as I was jobless and broke. My internet search led me to a site 000webhost which provides free web hosting. The price was right. The hosting service worked and I was happy. That was until I learned that to keep your website live there must be active visitors which I currently had just me. A few weeks went by and I landed my first job and in the hustle and bustle I quit working on the project. This was when I learned of the terms and conditions of 000webhost that if your site becomes stale it will be deleted.
3. Do not use a Password Manager
A password manager is great by giving you 1 password to rule them all. It is also bad, giving you 1 password to rule them all. Password managers are applications which store your passwords encrypted using a single password. You must remember this password or else your data will be gone. When you setup your password write it down and store it in a safe place. Preferable multiple places so that an unwelcome fire will not blow your data away.
Say you are hosting a data driven web app that provides a service to users at a competitive rate. Users data is protected via keys and there exists admin passwords. If you lose the keys and/or admin passwords you might have trouble accessing the service in the event of an issue. The hosting provider has password access which you will lose if you misplace your password.
Below are a few password managers. KeePass is the most trusted being open source and you host your data so make sure you have a safe backup solution. Bitwarden is my favorite as it provides end-to-end encryption and you can host the service. I’ll leave the rest for you to research.
I want to end by
telling commanding you to be a good developer: use source control, a password manager, and paid hosting. It can be cheap.