from PHP to Quasar, a journey into the modern world

from PHP to Quasar, a journey into the modern world

I have been coding for almost three decades, in a multitude of languages. The last decade has been spent in PHP, jQuery & Bootstrap. Pretty traditional web development stuff. This has worked well, but there are now better and more modern tech stacks out there. It is time for a change, so I am going to document my journey into the brave new world that is Quasar, Vue & Node.js

This journey will be documented over a series of posts. In order to make it easy to follow I will tag them all with #lourneytoquasar

But before we dive into the technicalities, let’s get to the elephant in the room. Why Quasar?

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Coding is a marathon of sprints

Coding is a marathon of sprints

Coding a new feature is like running a marathon by doing a lot of short sprints.

The mistake we as developers often make is trying to achieve too much in one go. We try to complete all the work in the spec in one go, i.e. we disappear into a dark hole and only resurface once we are done. There is several reasons why this is a bad idea.

  • Only revealing what you have worked on when it is done means you cannot incorporate any feedback into your work while you code, which in turn means you will be re-doing a lot of it.
  • The longer you wait to release code the higher the chance that something external has changed that will result in you having to change some of what you have done.
  • Working in isolation means no collaboration, which in turn reduces innovation.

The best way to go is to release lots of small incremental changes (the sprint) instead of going all the way (the marathon) before releasing the code. This way you get feedback quickly, and should you be going off track you can get on the right patch quickly.

Divide your task into small chunks, and do these one at a time. Not only will you be able to better measure progress, but you will be able to collaborate much better, and the instant feedback will result in a much better result. This approach will also make it much easier for the person having to review, merge and release your code into the bigger product set.

There is no such thing as a quickly adding a new software feature

There is no such thing as a quickly adding a new software feature

How often have you though that you could quickly add a new feature to your system? If you ask me, the answer is many times.

How often did it turn out to be quick? For me, none so far.

Adding a new feature quickly implies the following assumptions:

  • You know exactly what you want the actual requirement is
  • You know exactly what needs to be done
  • You know exactly how this will impact the rest of the system

Most of the time at least one of these assumptions are wrong, more than often two or even three. This means a job that you thought would take a day turns into a week or even two.

Another seriously delaying factor is the dreaded scope creep. Often business wants more once they see what you have done. This can be managed, but what is far harder to control is the internal force that drives the top developers. We always want to over deliver, which means we keep adding more and more as we code, causing our own scope creep.

My rules to manage this is simple:

  • Rule 1. Write down exactly what you want to accomplish
  • Rule 2. Write down exactly how you are going to accomplish it
  • Rule 3. Stick to the two rules above, no matter what

If you decide halfway along that it would be a good idea to add X, Y or Z features, don’t. Resist all temptation. Refer to the rules above if confused. Only once your new feature is done can you consider doing more, but now you can step back and consider the bigger picture before you dive back into the code.