Developers Are Users Too

Let me paint a picture: Spring 2010, I accepted my first contract with Trevelino Keller. They had a deadline coming up to roll out Ritz & Wolf Camera & Image’s website and the previous web developer was missing in action.

It never dawned on me that being able to read and understand another’s code was a skill set that I’d ever need. I was self-taught in HTML & CSS. I had gone through tutorials and frequented A-List-Apart up to that point. I was used to notes and guidance. I had neither this time, yet I found myself not only having to alter but add to the existing code.

I scrapped all but 10% of it. I couldn’t understand it, what the previous designer was doing and where they were going. There were zero comments. My project load immediately increased by two weeks and I had already agreed on a flat fee for the project.

This project isn’t a key portfolio piece because of the way it looks. I had no say over that matter by the time I came onto the project. I did however have a say in its structure.

“Write the vision and make it plain so that those that read it may run with it.” Hab 2:2

I was told in high school to write my notes so that someone else could understand them. This holds ever-so-true for writing code. I wrote the cleanest code I could. I consider the individuals who build websites to be just as much users as those for whom they are built.

I decided to continue to learn to code for understanding and expansion with ease, not just for myself but for anyone else that would happen to come across my code.