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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”. 1014 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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