Chip Cullen

Things I wish I knew when starting with Python

Last year, after getting a promotion, I found myself suddenly in charge of a lot more back end python code. As someone who had almost exclusively worked in the front end (except for some PHP when dealing with Drupal or WordPress) this was new territory for me.

I’ve decided to jot down a few things that I’ve learned that I hope will help folks in a similar position. This is by no means for anyone with even intermediate python knowledge. I’m sure a lot of this will seem super obvious to a lot of folks.

But, if you’re like me and have spent most of your time in the front end, I hope this will orient you a bit.

Keep reading Things I wish I knew when starting with Python

Don’t be a dumb developer

I had a situation at work where we had an edge case in a component: sometimes a logo didn’t appear. When I noticed this, I responded as a dumb developer.

I didn’t look around, and notice in other very similar components that there was a fallback for this scenario. Instead, I just saw a lack of a logo, blinked, and just mentally folded.

Don’t do this. Don’t be a dumb developer.

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Simplicity comes with experience

Being able to confidently offer simple solutions that solve a problem is a hallmark of experience. Before even committing your fingers to a keyboard, experience will (hopefully) allow you to:

  • Question requirements. Is something truly necessary?
  • Get to the root business goal. People don’t just blindly ask for stuff without a reason - but getting to that real reason can take some digging.
  • Redefine success. Get others to see that simplicity and reliability trumps whiz-bang.

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Do the least amount possible

I’ve been thinking a lot about principles in front end development lately. Techniques come and go as technology evolves.

The how of things quickly changes. The why is much more timeless.

A principle that is emerging for me is simple: do the least amount possible.

Keep reading Do the least amount possible