The Skills You Need for Mobile and Web Programming and Development

What it’s like to work as a mobile app developer” by TechRepublic is a simple but solid list of what it takes to be a mobile application developer, but also a programmer, web designer, and web developer.

The skills mentioned include persistence, ability to keep up with trends and changes in the fast pace of technology, testing to the extreme, and the understanding that this is a new and evolving industry and be ready for the shifting terrain in and around you.

I’d like to add two big skills missing from this list, without which makes the difference between a savvy developer and programmer and a mediocre one. It is the ability to pay attention to details and not make excuses.

It is always the details that bite you back. A missed semi-colon, a misnamed variable, a loop that doesn’t close right, validation errors, little simple things that should be a part of the testing environment but slip by.

I’ve seen many programmers and designers, including myself, blaming the software, the code, everyone else except the person who screwed up and missed the detail that caused the issue. Then the excuses start coming out. Not enough sleep, too much pressure, too many interruptions, trouble at home, traffic jam driving into work, family problems…the list is long and all of these can get in the way of your work.

When we let the excuses consume us, we negative the good work we’ve done. A lot of successes happened in the code before the mistake. Yet we spend a lot of energy on the excuses for that mistake instead of recognizing it as something fixable, a lesson learned or relearned, and move on.

We all have the same excuses. We’d all like them to go away so we could have a perfect working environment. They won’t go away so our ability to handle them must improve.

The first step is to acknowledge that we all have interference in our lives, so let them not interfere. Continue reading

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Most Common Database and Programming Errors

WordPress, web database, and web designers need to pay close attention to these two articles from TechRepublic: “Five common programming mistakes” and “Five common database development mistakes.”

The first one deals with the most common programming mistakes, a few I’ve done myself. UI craziness and variable naming inconsistencies will often eat up my time as I resolve their issues.

The second article on database development mistakes addresses many of the issues I and others have with dealing with other people’s work. A missing mistake that should be on the list is a lack of inline documentation, the notes a developer should leave to not only remind them of what happened here and why choices were made, but informs future fixers of what is going on. Without these, we have to read the code like a book, and not everyone writes based upon readable standards. We spend too much time playing detective for the simplest of fixes.

A comment in the first article really caught my eye and sums up so much of what causes problems with the code.

This isn’t the tool’s fault — the error is between the keyboard and the chair. On the one hand, it speaks volumes about the quality of these tools that I trust them so much that I lost a lot of my vigilance; on the other hand, it is still my fault that I allow convenience to turn my brain off entirely. I have learned to slow myself down when using code completion and take the extra second or two to ensure that I have made the right choice.

The biggest problem is what is sitting in the chair – remember that next time you start blaming.

Testing Broken Posts

The following is a test for my students to detect code errors. It features Lorem Ipsum based upon the cult television show, Arrested Development.


Let ‘Em Eat Cake

No… but I’d like to be asked! I’m half machine. I’m a monster. Get me a vodka rocks. And a piece of toast.

Meat the Veals

I’m half machine. I’m a monster. I don’t understand the question, and I won’t respond to it. It’s called ‘taking advantage.’ It’s what gets you ahead in life. Really? Did nothing cancel? Whoa, this guy’s straight?

  • I’m afraid I just blue myself.
  • Steve Holt!

Meat the Veals

There’s so many poorly chosen words in that sentence. He’ll want to use your yacht, and I don’t want this thing smelling like fish. But I bought a yearbook ad from you, doesn’t that mean anything anymore? Well, what do you expect, mother? I’m afraid I just blue myself. No… but I’d like to be asked!

Good Grief!

Really? Did nothing cancel? Michael! We just call it a sausage.

  1. We just call it a sausage.
  2. I’m afraid I just blue myself.
  3. We just call it a sausage.
  4. I’m afraid I just blue myself.

Mr. F

There’s so many poorly chosen words in that sentence. Whoa, this guy’s straight? That’s what it said on ‘Ask Jeeves.’ We just call it a sausage. No… but I’d like to be asked! I care deeply for nature.

Exit Strategy

Well, what do you expect, mother? I’m afraid I just blue myself. I don’t criticize you! And if you’re worried about criticism, sometimes a diet is the best defense. Bad news. Andy Griffith turned us down. He didn’t like his trailer. Bad news. Andy Griffith turned us down. He didn’t like his trailer.

Guy’s a pro. Get me a vodka rocks. And a piece of toast. I’m a monster.

Really? Did nothing cancel? There’s only one man I’ve ever called a coward, and that’s Brian Doyle Murray. No, what I’m calling you is a television actor. It’s a hug, Michael. I’m hugging you. Not tricks, Michael, illusions. No! I was ashamed to be SEEN with you. I like being with you. There’s so many poorly chosen words in that sentence.