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.

Web Browser Tips for WordPress, HTML, and Web Design

The following video contains useful web browser tips to help you speed you your browsing, WordPress, and web design work.

Basic Web Browser Tips by Lorelle VanFossen for Clark College from Lorelle VanFossen

Please note that the video refers to the Windows keyboard shortcuts using the CTRL key. This is the equivalent to the CMD key on Mac.

For mobile devices, long presses usually activate the equivalent of keyboard shortcuts and right clicks, though not all of them may be available in the apps you are using.

Here are some of the specific tips covered in the video.

  • Editing (just like in a word processor)
    • CTRL+C = Copy
    • CTRL+X = Cut
    • CTRL+V = Paste
    • CTRL+Z = Undo
  • CTRL+T = Open New Tab
  • F5 = Reload/Refresh Page
  • Zoom in and out of a web page (magnify): CTRL+Plus and CTRL+Minus
  • Right click on links on the page brings up the right click menu to access link specific options and features.
  • Right click on blank or empty spaces on a web page brings up the right click menu for page specific options and features.
  • Learn to open web pages in tabs not windows. This saves on computer memory issues and speeds up your browser process.
    • Use Mouse and Keyboard shortcuts: CTRL + Left Click on Link = Opens Linked Page in New Tab
  • Fast Navigation through Browser Tabs
    • CTRL+T = Opens New Tab
    • CTRL+1 = Goes to Tab #1
    • CTRL+ 2, 3, 4, etc. goes to that tab number
    • CTRL+Arrow = moves focus to next and previous tab
  • Working on web page design or WordPress? Refresh and you don’t see changes? You need to clear the cache and do a "hard" clearing page reload. F5 or SHIFT+F5 OR do a Cache Refresh
    • CTRL+F5 (Firefox and Chrome)
    • CTRL+Shift+R (Firefox)
    • CTRL + R (Chrome)
    • (You may have to repeat a couple times)
  • To view the source code of a web page: Right Click > View Page Source
  • Web Developer Tools