Software development is an industry worth billions of dollars each year. For the most part, the applications you use on your computer and mobile devices every day will have taken a long time to develop.
As you may appreciate, there is a lot of testing to do in software before it can get released to the general public. It’s a bit like when you design a new car; you have to make sure it works and is safe to use before you can sell it! The trouble is; some software vendors, especially new startup businesses, fall prey to some development “gotchas.”
I am, of course, talking about the mistakes that are often so simple and blindingly obvious that you smack your head in disgust at yourself! If you’re a developer, make sure you don’t fall afoul of these eight typical errors in your code:
1. Incorrect calculation methods
It’s relatively rare to develop software that doesn’t do any form of mathematical calculation. Code often has to evaluate integer variables or other numbered data and do something with it. For example, calculating the average of three integer variables or adding them to others.
With many programming languages, there are many types of variables that one can use in their code. Select the wrong type, and it could spell disaster; especially if that data gets stored in a database!
2. Using static data instead of variables
Data objects can get stored and accessed in a multitude of ways. Believe it or not, some developers make the mistake of using static data instead of information contained in variables. How does that happen? The answer is simpler than you might think: they made a silly typo in their code!
It can drive many developers up the wall when they try to figure out why their code is doing weird things!
3. Poor naming conventions
You might think bad naming conventions is something you’d associate with newbies or junior software developers. But, it’s something that even seasoned programmers with decades of experience do as well.
It’s often considered bad practice to give variables the same names as functions or classes, for example. And even the case (i.e. lower or UPPER) of names can have an impact on the stability of a program.
4. Poor performance
Let’s face it. When you launch a software program, you expect it to run at a reasonably fast speed. Most developers use APM or “Application Performance Management” tools to check how their code can get optimized.
If you’ve no idea what I’m talking about, search online for an application performance management definition. Otherwise, you risk ruining the reputation of your brand by selling slow and resource-hogging software!
5. No data validation
A lot of software that people use each day will allow them to enter some form of information, perhaps to perform a database query. How do you validate the data they enter into your program? As a keen coder, it’s your duty to ensure that only “acceptable” information gets entered by users.
Aside from slowing data software or databases, not validating data can pose a significant security risk. Imagine if hackers could run SQL queries through your software and hack your servers, for example?
6. No comments
If you have a brush with the law and don’t want to incriminate yourself, not making any comments to questions posed to you might be a good strategy. But, it’s a bad one if other developers need to examine your code!
Perhaps the first thing they teach you in Coding 101 is to ALWAYS leave comments in your code. That way, both you and other people know what a particular function or brand of code does in your source files.
7. Lack of consideration for GUI design
Programming isn’t just about how things work under the hood, as it were. The other significant aspect of software development is the user experience. People that use software must understand how it works to get the full value from it. Otherwise, they are unlikely to use it in future and opt for a competitor’s product instead.
It’s vital that the user interface is clean, straightforward and easy to follow. Above all, it must fit in with the style and design of the platform or operating system it runs on.
8. Reliance on obsolete dependencies
It’s no secret that people upgrade to new computers, operating systems, and software on a regular basis. Using DLLs that date back to the time of Windows 95 probably isn’t a good idea for backward compatibility in future versions of your software!