I have worked on a lot of websites…a lot. Usually, it’s a pretty smooth gig. You pop in, write when you need to write, or change a few things, and you’re done. Slick, clean, smooth, and easy. That’s how it should go…should.

Every now and again I get “under the hood” of a site and it’s vastly more complicated that it ever needed to be. Imagine opening a computer case, you have a good idea of what to expect and what needs to be done, right? WRONG! When you crack open the case you discover a mix of a Ford Model T and what looks to be the forerunner to the Cern LHC. This site looks like it could rip apart the universe, but only at about 12 miles per hour. Now you have to fix it.

You see things that, normally, would take a function or two. However, what you’re seeing is a universal RSS feed scraper that can, presumably, predict what is going to be on  a website before it’s ever even written. Or, if you’re lucky, a class that you can comment out or remove completely and nothing really changes from the “loss”. These are real-life problems I have come across in my near-decade-long career. Scary, I know.

I am not here to strictly complain, though. I am writing this post simply make a very hopeful suggestion. When you’re building a website, don’t reinvent the wheel. Sure, it may look impressive. However, more often than not, it will be one or more of the following:

  • Grossly inefficient
  • Bloated
  • Needless
  • Serving no other purpose than to take up space on the server

This is not meant to be mean-spirited, by any means. This is just asking for a bit of “professional courtesy”, from one code monkey to another. I take a lot of pride in the efficiency of my code, and take great pains to keep it as streamlined as possible. The last thing I want someone to complain about in my code is that it’s bloated or may possibly be written in Sumerian. So I make sure that my code is very clean.

My work is by far perfect, however. For instance, I am now getting into a better habit of commenting my code. Not commenting it more, just commenting it in general. For years I never commented most of my code because I was the only one working on it. I can’t read my own hand-writing, but I can always read my own code. That does other people no good though, so I am trying to improve that.

I’m thinking about you guys, who use my code. So do me a solid favor and return the favor. If not for me, do it for the person who has to come in after you and keep the project moving forward.

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