Websites are notorious for having issues, it’s only natural. More “moving parts” leaves more room for errors. So in an effort to help people stop making the same mistakes, many of which I have made myself, I have compiled a list of tips to help decruft your code.

  • Draw before you code
    • Have an idea of what you want to accomplish and the step needed to get there before you start cranking out code.
  • Enhancements don’t always enhance
    • Think about the good what you’re adding will do. Will a background animated gif of sparkles really improve the site? No? Then don’t do it!
    • This argument can be applied to websites/products you are doing for clients as well.
  • Be responsive
    • Websites can be viewed on a myriad of of devices now, most of which have different resolutions.
    • There are a number of websites and browser plugins you can use to test your code against those resolutions
    • There are also tools you can use to help build responsive sites
    • You can also write your own media queries if your site doesn’t require one of the aforementioned tools
    • Lame designs may have been okay for these sites, but they definitely got better and so can yours
  • CDNs can be your friend…or enemy
    • While you find some great resources without all the confusion ( CSS3PIE, I’m looking at you), they can also increase load times depending on how many you use and how you have them set up. Google Fonts has a gauge that will indicate how much load your configuration will put on your server
    • Remember the sparkling background we talked about earlier? Same idea
    • If you can load it locally without much confusion, just do so. A few more megabytes for a library isn’t going to kill the storage capacity
    • If the CDN goes down, what happens to your site Keep that in mind.

That’s it, short I know, but the small things are usually the most frequently overlooked. I have here a few points as well for helping to keep you in top form, as well. But those aren’t code-based issues. More life issues, regard as you will.

  • Stay focused
    • I know how good a 3-hour lunch break or “just watching a little TV” when you’re working from home sounds, but distraction leads to missed deadlines and stagnant projects.
  • Don’t work hungry
    • Staying focused and missing meals are two different things. The latter I can plead guilty to, as I constantly forget to eat during the workday. I don’t skip the meal, rather I just get so caught up in what I am working on that eating completely skips my mind. I often notice it at the end of the day when I lost most cognitive abilities and my stomach starts making calls like a rabid elk. At that point, I am of no use to anyone.
  • Keep a balance
    • Sometimes in the world of the professional keyboard jockey, most aspects of your life take a back seat to the project at hand. This is especially true of “crunch week” and “taking a site live”. 10 – 14 hour days are not unheard of and are, at times, necessary in order to meet deadlines. Just make sure that you give yourself enough time to recover and “recharge your battery”.
    • Schedules may not afford for much time off, but be sure to make the most of the time you are given. Otherwise you will start showing signs of fatigue and won’t be at the top of your game.
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