Why Coding Practices Matter For Clients
As a client, you may never have to look through the code that's powering your website. If your website functions well and looks aesthetically pleasing, it's easy to assume that your website is built well. However, this is not always the case - and there are a few reason why you should care about coding practices that is powering your website.
Web development is a field that's constantly changing, and for security reasons, it's in the best interest of website owners to periodically perform updates/maintenance on their site. However, during the update, it is not uncommon for websites to run into issues, such as styling or functionality errors. At this point, web developers will have to debug the errors that happens during updates, and implement some fixes. In order for these fixes to be done as smoothly as possible, the code base of your website needs to be well organized. Otherwise, finding the root cause of the issue is like finding a needle in a haystack.
The Horrors of Spaghetti-Code
Developers often refer to poorly organized code as "spaghetti-code"
. One of the biggest problems with spaghetti code is that they are extremely difficult to understand. If the developer doesn't understand how the code functions, it can be difficult to debug errors when they occur. Spaghetti code is also responsible for issues like fixing one part of the code causing other parts of the code to break. Working with spaghetti code is a bit like playing Jenga - it's stable as long as no changes are made, but as soon as you start moving parts of the code to implement fixes or changes, the entire code base starts crumbling down.
Why Coding Practices Matter To Clients
Clients may never have to deal with the code that's powering their website - so why does this matter for clients? Well, for one thing, website maintenance and updates are common practices for most business website owners. If your website is built on top of poorly written code, it could pose significant challenges for anyone to perform any maintenance on it. Performing fixes to poorly built websites can cost a lot of time and money - money that you would have saved if the site was built properly to begin with.
In addition, as your business grows, you might think about adding new features to your website. In order for the new feature to be added to your website, it still needs to play nice with the base code of the website. If your developer charges an hourly rate for making any updates to your website, you might be paying more money for the developers to debug your website than actually implementing the new feature. In the end, hiring a developer that can build your website with good coding practices will save you more money down the line.
How Do You Know If Your Website Is Built Well?
It's difficult for an average person to know what well-written code is. And unfortunately, there is no such thing as a universally good coding practice - every project is slightly different, and every development firm would have a different implementation of "best coding practices". So how do you know if your developer is good?
Again, there are no easy answers to this - but as a client, there are several questions you can ask. For example, ask your web developer if they actually write any code, or they use preexisting themes/templates to build your website. Using preset themes/templates does not necessarily mean that the developer is incapable. However, if you're looking for a fool-proof website, you do want to make sure that the person building your website actually knows how to code. All too often, web developers who "build websites" purely by installing third-party plugins/borrowed code end up making something unmaintainable. Another thing to check for is the speed at which developers promise to deliver the project. It's not unheard of for developers to build simple websites in a couple days. However, be wary of timelines that seem too good to be true - chances are, they are.