Best Practices

Best Practices

he focus of this issue is best practices and techniques. From testing to free tools you can use with ASP.NET, we discuss several topics that are important to developers. I am going to explore some other best practices you might want to consider.

Firewalls and Virus Scanners
An important best practice you should consider is using firewalls and virus scanners on every computer that connects to the Internet. You should include your friends and families in this best practice. In the last couple of months, I cannot tell you how many friends and family I have visited where their DSL or cable modem is going absolutely crazy even with no-one on the computer. Their computer has downloaded every file sharing program available, and their machines are infested with viruses and adware. As a matter of fact, I came home one night and my wife had a beautiful new background on her computer. What she didn’t realize is that her new background came with a small price?an ad-ware invasion. Duh! So it’s up to you to spend time educating your mom, dad, son, daughter, spouse, grandma, and friends about safe computing.

Here’s a great tool to help you out. Dan Appleman’s book, Always Use Protection: A Teen’s Guide to Safe Computing, ISBN 159059326X. This book is a must have for all developers and people using computers of any age. This book does a good job of explaining how to use the Internet safely and not get in trouble with viruses, adware, and other maladies. Add this to your holiday shopping list now.

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Backup, Backup, Backup
I know that you know better and are backing up your critical data every day right? On the angryCoder’s Web page, there is a story written by a developer that discusses building his own custom backup solution. In his story, he talks of a fellow developer that hadn’t backed up his laptop in two years. That’s scary. Last month I spent days pulling data from a laptop that had its hard drive start throwing bad blocks. The sad part of it was that I am usually good at backing my data up at a minimum of once a week and especially before a business trip. This time… I forgot. As the saying goes, “It’s not if your drive is going to fail, but when.” Boys and girls, back up your data. Now! What are you waiting for?!?

Control that Version
I cannot say enough about version control. As a developer, you need to store your code in a version control system. There’s Visual SourceSafe, Vault, and coming soon from a Microsoft near you: Team Systems (which CoDe Magazine will have coverage of soon). It’s inevitable that you will royally mess up your code and you will need to go back to a previous working version. You can either hope you have a zip file with the right version, or you can go to that backup (VCS System) and know it is the correct version.

Reading Is Fundamental
Reading is fundamental to being a successful software developer. Heck, you are off to a good start reading this editorial . Here are a couple of books I have read over the last month or so that you might find interesting.

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The first book is, Flying High: How JetBlue Founder and CEO David Neeleman Beats the Competition… Even in the World’s Most Turbulent Industry. This book is a biography of David Neeleman, the founder of JetBlue Airlines, which is just one of his accomplishments. David was also a leader in the creation of airline e-tickets, and he ran another airline subsequently purchased by Southwest Airlines. This is a great entrepreneurial type of read.

Another book I recommend is, Facts and Fallacies of Software Engineering. Author Robert Glass discusses a number of issues that face software developers and managers on a daily basis. This great book has 55 facts and 10 fallacies that detail such things as: adopting new tools, requirements, testing, developer differences, etc. I think it’s a must have for all software developers.

Ok, that’s all I have for now. Now go backup your data.



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