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Understand First, Change Second
Date 2/13/2009    Tags Advise    (0)

When you have a change to make, don't just make it. Take the time to think about everything it might affect first. Understand exactly what the application is doing and how your change will affect it. Taking a little more time upfront will save a lot of headaches for you and for others later.

Far too often I've experienced a developer making a change in one aspect of an application that causes issues in another. There are few things more frustrating when working on an application than discovering the area you were working on no longer functions correctly because of changes were haphazardly made elsewhere. Often times finding this change is time consuming, especially on larger projects where you are not aware of all the changes in the application that are being made by other developers.

Another issue associated with not fully understanding everything involved with your change is that changes get implemented that only partially solve the problem. A change might solve problem X, but does it solve problem Y and problem Z too? Don't just dismiss the problem as solved because it works in one instance, determine all the different scenarios that it will affect and make sure each resolves as expected.

When it comes time to test out your solution, be thorough. Be aware of the scope your change could affect, a bug in your code can lead to a trickle down of bugs in other areas in the app that aren't always easily attributed to your change.

After you're done testing your new piece, make sure the rest of the app still works right too. Even if your code works, it's wrong if it breaks the rest of the app. Developers don't always seem to realize that. 0" hei

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