Day 11: Your Development Environment Matters

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We’ve all been there: staring down a new project with 14 steps to set up the development environment, and step 2 breaks. We spend hours debugging, only to be told by a senior engineer, “oh, yeah, the docs are out of date, here’s new instructions”. You try the new instructions, which are also broken, and are finally told “oh, there’s a trick, see…” This frustration brings us to our eleventh principle: modern applications must be easy to develop.

Modern applications should have simple, straightforward development environments in order to facilitate easy developer access and onboarding. A complex setup for a development environment, or one that takes days to master, leads to frustration and disgust before a developer has even written a single line of code.

By having an easy-to-use development environment, companies can ensure their developers are always working on the most modern instance of the code base, and make certain that developers are focused on developing, not maintaining an ancient and fragile development architecture.

Containerization, Vagrant and others have made this process easy and simple. Taking the time to invest in these tools might seem like a waste, but will speed developer productivity, make testing simpler, and reduce the number of bugs making it into production. It requires a hard look at the actual architecture of the application and, often, a simplification of that architecture.

Development environments aren’t sexy topics, but they are critically important for developing and deploying code that runs, and runs well. Invest in them. Make them simple. Make them easy to use.

Posted on 1/5/2021 at 9:31 am
Categories: Development

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