Documentation Saved my Easter
I write down everything. I mean I take a note about everything because I forget everything. This is how I work. I love using the different todo and note taking applications on my smartphone, I’ve already tried many of them. Currently my favorite todo app is gTasks and my favorite note taking app is Google Keep. But don’t get me wrong, I’m not the fan of the excessive, unnecessary documentation at all, but I’m sure that a certain level of documentation (now I’m talking about the documentation made for yourself not for the users) is definitely required when you develop an app.
Yesterday we visited my wife’s parents and grandparents. They live in the countryside, so it was a full day program. We left in the morning, had a long drive, then after we arrived we had an awesome lunch. We had some chat in the afternoon then drove back home in the evening. It was a pretty cool day. Even when I have a day out like this, I always keep my eyes on my emails, and on the social media notifications. I try to reply the support questions as soon as possible. But this was a calm day, I didn’t have any urgent emails, until we arrived home in the evening.
I received a message from a Bookmark Ninja user, that he couldn’t import his browser bookmarks into Ninja because his bookmark file was bigger than 30 MB. It’s normal because a 30 MB maximum upload limit was set it Ninja. When I set it to 30 MB, I thought this would be enough. There was already a user who imported 35,000+ bookmarks recently without any problem, but this user has probably even more bookmarks. The solution was very easy, I had to change the file size upload limit from 30 MB to let’s say 50 MB. The truth is I didn’t remember how I had set the 30 MB limit and I was even pretty tired after the long day, but I wanted to help the user.
I remembered only that I had set the limit in one of the configuration files on the server, and I had set the limit in the app, too, to give a warning message to the user if the file was too big. Fortunately I document every changes I made on the production server. It’s a kind of a change history in a simple Google Docs file. Sometimes I feel this extra documentation work is unnecessary and I just waste my time but I always do it. I checked this file and immediately found the details of the changes I had made when I had set the 30 MB limit. It was a big relief. I also realized that not just the upload limit had to be changed, but it was necessary to increase the timeout, too, due the bigger file uploads.
Having these information available helped me to make the changes again in less than 10 minutes. I’m not saying if I hadn’t had this documentation then I wouldn’t have been able to set the new upload limit, but it would have taken definitely more time to google for the details. I think I will not feel that writing the production server change history is a waste of time any more.