I didn’t always work in a larger team. At the beginning of my journey as a computer programmer, I was the only one person in a project. It meant that I had had a free-hand (or semi-free-hand) to choose how I could write a code and which solutions I could use. From day to day I could perform a little revolution in the codebase. No consequences and no problems because the only user of the code was me.
Although this situation might look as the best case for a programmer, it doesn’t. Especially for the junior programmer. You have no opportunity to learn from someone else. You can’t validate your ideas and thoughts with others. Ultimately your only friends and co-workers are Google and Mr. StackOverflow.
After some time, I got a new job and I started to work as a part of the team. As a new person in the company, I had tons of ideas and tools that we could use in a project to make our work better, more pleasant and easier. It was relatively easy to introduce new features into the codebase. On the other hand, it was almost impossible to remove the old ones. Why?
Because we didn’t have the code deprecation strategy.
It may sound obvious or even weird for people who programming in statically typed or compiled languages. In my work, I use PHP which is a dynamically typed language with optional strict typing introduced in version 7. At the beginning of my journey with PHP, I didn’t care so much about typing. I had a trivial cause — they didn’t exist yet.
I used to write a code without thinking about types. It was convenient and fast. Furthermore, it allowed writing proxy functions which recognize parameters type and it runs the proper function. Yes, overriding doesn’t exist in PHP.
But things changed when I discovered polymorphism. The magic keyword
Interface that allows us to define the mandatory set of features in the object. The picture of writing a code without worrying about missing methods was incredible. I still didn’t understand one thing yet. How interfaces help me since I can pass everything on the function call?
This question lied a long time in my head until I discovered I can define the required type of passed object. Since that time, I changed completely the way how I write the code.
When we talk about arrays we usually mean the vector of something – primitives, objects or even arrays. But there are a lot of situation when we need to carry extra information with our data. We can use nested arrays but it doesn’t cause that the specific item within the array will be easy to identify. To achieve it we should use custom keys. They provide easy access to any element of the array as long as we know the key corresponding with that value.
There are some reasons why we can use associative arrays instead of simple vectors, e.g. readability. Named keys are also more meaningful than numeric indexes. Instead of thinking about the whys, image the situation when we could use a hashmap. Let’s focus on how we can build the associative array from a vector.
When I started my journey as a computer programmer I had written my code in a various way. I met some condition and I just put the correct statement regardless of the general concept or something more deeply. “It works, that’s it” – and the code base grew and grew in time. Thousands of written methods later I had discovered that a lot of these little pieces of logic could look better if I reverse some condition within them. Unconsciously, I’ve started following the rule which I had later called the “fail fast” rule.
I realized I hadn’t had the one way to check conditions within the single method. Sometimes I let execution if the expression was true. Another time I had waited for the false result to show the error message before the main part of the code was executing. In my head, I discovered various styles of checking conditions.
Loop is the basic construction in each programming language. All repeatable operations are being done using loops. I think you know how the basic loops like while, do and for work and when you should use one of them. But are you sure? Maybe should you use array functions?
How many of your operations in a loop rely on building objects based on the value? Or selecting only a few items from the array using a predicate? Maybe you use array values to calculate something? Whatever you do, read why you should replacing basic loops by array operations.
Do you use constants in your code? Probably a lot. Even if you don’t define your own is highly probable that you use some constants defined by other libraries or a language itself. Constants are very powerful unless you use it in the wrong way.