Chapter 7 Don’t rush into coding

7.1 Designing before coding

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Don’t rush into coding. I know you want to, because it’s what we like to do and what we are good at. But before entering the coding marathon, take time to think about the application and the way it will be deployed and used.

7.2 Ask questions

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Take a pen and a piece of paper and draw the app. Talk about it with the people who will use the app, just to decipher what they actually need. Take a moment to talk with the IT. Here are some questions you can ask:

  • “Who are the end users of the app?” — This will help you know if the end users are tech literate or not, and what they aim to achieve with the app.
  • “How frequently will they use the app?” — The small details of the design & the UI of an app you use on a daily basis is more crucial than when the app is used once a month.
  • “What level of complexity and personalization do the users really need?” — People writing app specifications sometimes want more functionalities than what is actually needed by the users.
  • “What level of interactivity do you want, and to what extent is it central?” — People love interactive graphs and like when things automatically sync with each other. Yet these two can make the app slower, without any significant gain. For example, being reactive to a selectInput() or a sliderInput() can lead to too much computation: maybe the user will not succeed to choose the right input the first, second or third time… So let them do their choice, and add a button so that they can validate when they are ready.
  • “How important is it that the app is fast?” — Should you spend a lot of time optimizing the little things?
  • etc.

Asking questions, taking notes, and drawing the app help you have a good idea of what is expected and what you have to do now.

So, next step!


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