Have you noticed that even the world’s most successful, wealthy developers still get bugs in their apps? Look at products from Google, Microsoft, and Apple, and you will find bugs and errors, occasional crashes, and sometimes even serious security glitches. How can this be? Don’t those guys know what they are doing?
The issue is technical debt, and any app developer can face this situation from the little startup companies to the massive Googles and Microsofts.
The Concept of Technical Debt
When you’re so busy developing new bright ideas, it’s easy to get behind on older coding issues. This leads to technical debt.
Technical debt is coding glitches and issues that developers fall behind on. Developing an application involves a tremendous amount of time and resources. In addition to the actual code writing, developers have to test the product, create documentation to go with the code, and then delve into deployment of the app. As this work gets done over and over on new products, the company eventually has so much code and support work that small glitches get left undone. It is a constant trade-off between building new products and features versus stopping production to address little glitches that got left behind.
What can development companies do about technical debt?
Don’t Take on Too Much Too Soon
It is so tempting to delve into the next development project as soon as the previous one rolls out. Developers are hyped over the recent success and you want to keep customers engaged while there is plenty of buzz around your brand. Hold off. Wait until the new release is running smoothly. There is precisely a 100 percent chance that bugs will eventually show themselves and need to be addressed. Halfway through the development process of the next app is a bad time to have to stop and address those problems. This is how companies end up in technical debt.
Rewrite or Clean Up Old Code
Build up some technical credits by cleaning up and rewriting outdated or clunky code.
Take a look at how much your app has evolved from conception until now. Likely, it has undergone massive reworking, redesign, redevelopment, and endless tweaking. Unfortunately, a lot of that old, abandoned code still lurks in there somewhere, causing confusion, and yes, causing bugs. It pays to take the time to rework and clean up old code as the product matures so that the old code doesn’t cause new glitches. Bugs and crashes are the single top reason apps are rejected by app stores.
Assume a Hacker Mentality
Hackers have an uncanny ability to build up new features on the fly with super agile coding. Do you have hacker-type on your development team? White hat hackers are truly a gift to development efforts. Not only can they crank out large amounts of super sleek code quickly, they are superb at noticing security vulnerabilities and other bug-related issues.
When planning for new projects and developing great new apps, it’s important to occasionally look up from the work at hand and see how it’s fitting in with long-term goals and aspirations. Does this development effort outweigh the importance of fixing glitches in older apps? Are the products you’re producing proving their worth on the open market? Make sure you aren’t accumulating technical debt that you don’t have to.
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