Posted by: CompleteITProfessional
Developing software takes time. It involves analysing how to write effective code, writing the code, compiling, testing, debugging. It’s a big part of many IT projects – but there are ways you can save time as a developer.
Using the keyboard to perform tasks is a lot faster than using the mouse for the same thing. Many applications have built-in keyboard shortcuts – combinations of keys, that when pressed, will give you a result. These are usually displayed in the menu of the application.
It’s a good idea to get to know what these shortcuts are, as they can save you a lot of time. Pressing Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V to copy and paste is a lot quicker than using the mouse and navigating the menu. There are more shortcuts to learn than just basic text manipulation, though. If you’re using an IDE to develop code, there is a range of functions and shortcuts associated to them. Running debug mode, compiling code, Find and Replace, showing other windows – each of which could have a shortcut key. Learning and using these shortcuts can save you time in the long run.
Auto-complete is one of my favourite features in developing software. If you’re using an IDE when writing code, you may have the ability to use auto complete.
This feature will attempt to finish words for you as you type them, in certain situations, provided you’ve spelt them correctly. Depending on the language, the Auto Complete feature will complete keywords, function names, variable types, variable names, table names and column names. This can save you time in two ways.
Firstly, it saves you from typing the whole word. The suggestions will appear and you can just select one. This is usually done with a combination of arrow keys, space bar or the Enter key, depending on the application. You can then keep typing the rest of your statement.
Secondly, it ensures you have the correct name. It’s matched against other definitions it has found, which means the name is correct and you’ll have less problems later when attempting to run the code.
The IDE application that you use to develop and debug your code will likely have a lot of built in functionality. I’ve used a few IDEs before and many of them have functions that I’ve never even used. I’m sure they would save me a lot of time and hassle if I use them, but I just don’t yet know what they do or haven’t had the situation that needed them to be used.
There are many functions listed in the menus of the application that are designed to make your life as a software developer easier. Take some time to learn what they are and what they do. It can save you time in the long run as you’re writing your code.
This may seem like it’s something that doesn’t save you time – spending time to write comments for all of your code. However, I think it is a big time saver if we thing longer term.
Code commenting allows you to enter information about a piece of code such as the description, parameters, usage, and author. If you’re not sure what a particular function does, or a step in the code, then the comments can help explain it.
Spend some time as you’re writing the code to comment against the functions and the steps inside them. You’ll see the benefits of this later, as you come back to the code at a later date. Also, if others come to view your code, they’ll be glad to see that it is commented and easy to read.