• The Easiest Way to Create A Solution That Works

    The easiest way to create a solution that works…is to do it right the first time. Yes, this is a bit of a cop-out, but it turns out to be an important factor to keep in mind when you are tempted to come up with a quick and dirty solution for a problem that does not follow established best practices and is likely to have code quality issues later.

  • Performance Testing with Siege

    One of the most important things to consider when evaluating a website is how well the site performs under load. For many eCommerce websites, there is a higher volume of traffic to the website on Cyber Monday, which is the Monday after Thanksgiving. One of the sites I work with typically sees traffic to its site quadruple on this one day of the year compared to the average traffic. However, when you anticipate something on your site making it to the front page of Digg or Slashdot, your site can easily see a jump of an order of magnitude (10X) or more.

  • Estimating Software Development Projects is Hard

    As a software developer, working with non-technical management and end users to define a deadline for when a project will be ready to use or how long it will take from start to end of a project is an extremely complex task. Unfortunately, the non-technical audience thinks that it should be simple to give some sort of estimation on the fly without detailed analysis of the project and what it involves, as it seems simple for them to estimate tasks that are like ones they have done before.

  • Ignore Whitespace Not Available in BitBucket Pull Requests

    When looking for an online location to use as the host for source code, many people by default look at GitHub, as it seems to be the most well-known option out there, and is free for open source projects. However, if you would like your source code to be kept private, or would rather use Mercurial instead of Git, GitHub may not be the place for you. Instead, I would suggest BitBucket as your source code repository provider.

  • Always Use Automated Integration Testing

    QA or Quality Assurance of a software project is often the area of software development that is most neglected. Typically developers avoid software testing like their lives depended on it. While a basic level of testing is required for a single scenario to validate that your code “works”, the level of testing that is required to ensure that all users have a good user experience across all targeted platforms is something that a developer seems to think is beneath them.

  • AddThis Can Cause Your Site To Not Load

    Over the last few days, I have run across quite a few websites that seem to never finish loading. After waiting for 20 seconds or more, I give up, realizing that whatever content was on the site wasn’t worth it anymore for me to stare at a blank white browser until it loaded however much longer. Unfortunately for those websites, they are losing traffic that they will never get back.

  • == and === in JavaScript and HTML Input Elements

    If you read any current information about best practices in JavaScript, you will typically find the following advice somewhere in the list of things to do.

    Always use === and !== while avoiding == and !=

  • Always URL Encode your Cookies

    One of the things that you tend to forget about when dealing with websites that typically only cater to English-speaking visitors is how to properly deal with Unicode throughout the site. It turns out that some browsers handle Unicode support in different sections of the browser differently.

  • Orphaned Attribute Data in Magento

    Its always entertaining to look at the source of an application that originates from outside your organization. It frequently highlights ways of using technology I was not familiar with beforehand, and sometimes leaves me shaking my head in disgust. I initially started looking at a relatively new third-party module thinking that I would find some sort of major bug that was causing the issues the site was experiencing, but was surprised to find that was not the case.

  • Code Style Guides - Consistency is King

    There have been countless flame wars online about the details of the guidelines that appear in various Code Style Guides. Some of the most famous are the tabs versus spaces arguments, whether or not to put curly brackets {} each on their own line, whether you should even use the curly brackets {} for one line actions in if statements.

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