Coding with the other side of your brain

This might seem like a weird topic for a blog post. Let me elaborate.

If you’ve ever coded for a system that is build in a convention you’re not used to (for example, coding using a MVC framework, if you’re not used to it), this concept will begin to make sense. It refers to the almost complete paradigm shift required when approaching an unfamiliar coding framework or system. Here are a few things that I’ve found ease the process of coding with the other side of your brain.

1. Find people who code using the other side of their brain, more often.

Knowing one or two people who are used to the particular environment in which you are coding can be invaluable. It’s most useful, I believe, with those smaller tweaks and refinements that you may need to make… or the small and unexpected bugs in your code.

2. If the system has a user guide, keep it open.

User guides can often be bloated and unusable. If the documentation has a function reference and a brief explanation of the concepts behind the system, you’ve got it.

3. Pay attention to coding conventions.

If the original designers of the system are coding in a particular convention, stick to it. There’s usually a reason for the convention and sticking to it will save you time and potential future re-coding anyways.

4. Try to lay as much groundwork as possible before integrating the system with your code.

Pay attention to the finer details of the system and try to view the system on a more abstract level. This will enable you to see the bigger picture and to code or style any areas you may need to back-track and do at a later stage.

I hope these short tips are useful. If you have any to add, please add them in the comments. 🙂

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