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10 Commandments for Java Developers

  • June 12, 2006
  • By Aleksey Shevchenko
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7. Pay attention to the GUI. – No matter how absurd it sounds; I repeatedly observe that GUI is as important to the business clients as functionality and performance. The GUI is an essential part of a successful application. Very often IT management tends to overlook the importance of GUI. Many organizations save money by not hiring web designers who have experience in design of "user-friendly" applications. Java developers have to rely on their own HTML skills and their limited knowledge in this area. I have seen too many applications that are "computer friendly" rather then "user friendly". Very rarely I have seen developers that are proficient in both software development and GUI development. If you are this unlucky Java developer who has been assigned to create an application interface, you should follow these three rules:

  1. Do not reinvent the wheel. Look for existing applications that have similar interface requirements.
  2. Create a prototype first. This is a very important step. The clients like to see what they are going to get. It is better for you also because you are going to get their input before you go all out and create an application interface that will leave the clients cold.
  3. Put the user's hat on. In other words, inspect the application requirements from the user's perspective. For example, a summary screen can be created with paging and without. As a software developer, it might be temping for you to omit paging from the application because it is so much less complicated. But, from the client's perspective, it might not be the best solution because the summary results can hold hundreds of rows of data.

8. Always Prepare Document Requirements. – Every business requirement must be documented. This could be true in some fairy tale, but it is far from that in the real world. No matter how time-pressed your development is, no matter how tight the deadlines, you must always make sure that every business requirement is documented.

9. Unit-test. Unit-test. Unit-test. – I am not going to go into any details as to what is the best way to unit-test your code. I am just going to say that that it must be done. This is the most basic rule of programming. This is one rule that, above all, cannot be omitted. It would be great if your fellow developer could create and execute a test plan for your code, but if that is not possible, you must do it yourself. When creating a unit test plan, follow these basic rules:

  1. Write the unit test before writing code for class it tests.
  2. Capture code comments in unit tests.
  3. Test all the public methods that perform an "interesting" function (that is, not getters and setters, unless they do their getting and setting in some unique way).

10. Remember – quality, not quantity. - Do not stay late (when you do not have to). I understand that sometimes production problems, urgent deadlines, and unexpected events might prevent us from leaving work on time. But, managers do not appreciate and reward their employees because they stay late on regular basis, they appreciate them because they do quality work. If you follow the rules that I outline above, you will find yourself producing less buggy and more maintainable code. That is the most important part of your job.

Conclusion

In this article I covered ten critical rules for Java Programmers. It is not merely important to know these rules, it is also important to follow them. Hopefully, these rules will help all of us become better programmers and professionals.

About the Author

Aleksey Shevchenko has been working with object-oriented languages for over seven years. He is now implementing enterprise IT solutions for Wall Street and the manufacturing and publishing industries.



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