The 7D’s of Development — what they don’t teach you at Code School

There’s a lot more to being a developer than having the ability to code, the 7D’s aim to help ensure these aspects don’t get overlooked.

The 7D’s of Development — what they don’t teach you at Code School, image created with samurai.com CSS3D demo.

Being a developer has never been so popular, it’s no longer just the kids that used to hang out on IRC, spending the best parts of their adolescent years behind the safe yet mesmerising glow of a computer screen who have their heads in code. Nor is it just computer science graduates that are seeking work as developers. Over the last couple of years, I’ve seen an ever increasing amount of CVs cross my desk from applicants looking for development work who have started down a career path outside of technology, but have been seduced by the beautiful temptress that is code, and in particular web development.

Advances in browser capability, the relative ease of HTML5, CSS and JavaScript, and the influx of online resources (code schools), and high-intensity real life courses, offer an easy route in to development.

These courses teach the basics of coding, but what few, if any of them do, is prepare the developer for the real world development of client projects, the pressures of agency life and how to approach, manage and safeguard the delivery of their projects.

Introducing the 7D’s of Development.

1. Due Diligence

  • Ensure you’re comfortable with technology stack
  • That you are able to deliver within the timeframe
  • That you understand the project objectives
  • Know the project team members
  • Voice any concerns / potential risks you see early on
  • Understand what you’re delivering and how

2. Design

  • Decide on libraries / tech you will be using
  • Plan the architecture, including file structure, DBs, grunt tasks and naming conventions
  • Bare in mind future expandability / skinnability
  • Ensure compatibility with required browsers / devices

3. Discuss

  • Validate your approach with more senior member of the team
  • Check against project objectives
  • Run through your design with your department buddy
  • Talk through and resolve any ux/design/tech queries discovered

4. Develop

  • Ensure you run through with line manager / department buddies at key milestones
  • Make sure your approach is compatible for targeted browsers/devices along the way
  • Keep a high standard of code, including comments as well as execution

5. Document

  • Ensure a project README.md has been completed
  • Check that any development environment, build and deployment instructions are included
  • Verify at least each function has been commented, and non obvious lines of code

6. Debug & Test

  • Co-ordinate with your project manager to help deliver a test plan
  • Ensure targeted browsers / devices are supported and tested per specification document
  • Remember it’s your responsibility to test as you’re developing, don’t leave it all until the end

7. Deliver

  • Make sure your work has been signed off by appropriate stakeholders
  • Create deployment package
  • Follow client & brand specific instructions for deployment
  • Importantly, make sure you’re delivering proud

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Learnings and resources for Heads of Development and Tech Leads

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