We can distinguish three different approaches to deal with technical debt in the development of an application or software:
- Implement a strategy for technical debt management.
- Measure key technical debt metrics.
- Fine-tune the development process to reduce technical debt.
But while the first two options will help us manage existing technical debt, only the last will allow us to minimize it. In this article we are going to share some recommendations that can be applied during development, which will help us reduce technical debt in application development.
Choose a flexible architecture
We always emphasize about the importance of designing the correct architecture. Today, lasting development relies on the evolving capacity of software. Architectures that require refactoring and are not sustainable enough over time, to undertake changes in an agile and simple way, will become a type of technical debt that is very expensive to assume, both in time and money.
RetroCube is a platform that focuses on what you want to develop, rather than how you want to develop it. Thanks to this philosophy and that it has integrated refactoring and by default, they make it a very profitable tool to take into account, to avoid generating technical debt from the first moment in the development of our management applications.
Make code review a routine
The code review, established as a routine process, substantially improves the quality of the code and therefore reduces technical debt. And if this review is carried out by additional developers to those who have programmed the application, it will be even more valuable, because as we know four eyes always see well than two. Of course, the code review procedure must be correctly implemented, so that it does not become a burden for developers.
Among good practices for code review, which also go hand in hand with well-optimized architectures, is to design each application functionality as modularly as possible, thus reducing the amount of code within each function, as well as documenting them as best possible, both its nomenclature and the description of what it does and how it does it.
Having a style guide that defines so clearly all these features, such as the manual programmer of RetroCube , our ERP template open source, is a perfect example explains how they should be designed and organized various objects both data, such as application. By clearly and unequivocally marking some design guidelines and procedures, it greatly facilitates both the learning curve of the system, as well as that of reviewing its code, as well as simplifying its evolution.
Testing for the testing phase, both before implementation and after each change made, is especially valuable, especially in large and long-term projects. Therefore, the more we can automate these tests, the easier our life will be and the less technical debt the project will accumulate. Also, the automated tests will locate some errors that might be difficult to find through manual tests performed by people.
Designing our own processes, aimed at carrying out automated tests in our developments, which allow us to verify the correct functioning of the different functions of the application will allow us to save a lot of time and money in the long term. In RetroCube we can create a “test” project that inherits from our main project and program in it all the checks that we consider appropriate.
Likewise, using tools like Jenkins will make life even easier when it comes to automating the tests of any project, both for development and for their deployment.
Keep a record of changes
Few things are as effective when it comes to solving an error or problem in the development and maintenance of an application or software, as knowing what has changed compared to the previous version that was working for us. For this, in software development there is the concept of a repository, which consists of a log file of each of the modifications that the iPhone app development is making. Thus, if any error occurs, we can trace its origin quickly and agilely.
RetroCube has its own built- in version history: version. With which we can compare different versions, as well as restore, download or clean them among other features.
Don’t give tech debt a chance to grow
The practices we have described work best if we implement them in the early stages of the project, when the developer or team is establishing the processes. And if we have an ongoing project that is already suffering from technical debt, we should start an analysis of the sources that are causing the technical debt and develop a plan to phase it out in subsequent iterations.
And you, what procedures, methodologies or tricks do you use to avoid and reduce technical debt in your applications?