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Adobe Edge Article: Coding Standards

June 14th, 2008 Posted in ActionScript, Flex Development, General Media / Stuff, Rich Internet Applications, Self Reference, web 2.0, web integration

Adobe EdgeA few months ago I was asked to write an article for the Adobe Edge Newsletter on a topic of my choosing. After spending a bit of time thinking about what moved me at the moment, I decided to sit down and write about the need for RIA and web app developers to invest time into research, development and adoption of code standards. This week, the article “Coding standards: What are they and why should you use them?” went live and I want to share the link with everyone.

One of the challenges of writing an article like this is first defining your audience and then determining how to cover the topic in the alloted text. The Edge sets a word count guideline and this limits how deep I could or in this case could not go. Personally, I fully support the word count guide because this both focuses the topic and generates more digestible articles. Yet, on a topic as broad and as deep as this one I had to focus more on an introductory guide to coding standards and adoption.

The second challenge is determining your audience. My goal was to create an article that worked for both readers who have never heard of coding standards, and readers that have been using them for years. I always try to create a broad stripe across my reader base because I want to inform as many people as possible. This thought process was kind of beaten into me during my years as a Technical Support rep and team-lead at Macromedia. There is nothing like having to write Tech-notes and email support to teach you how to write to a broad audience.

The main point I wanted to get across with this article is that coding standards are actually much more then just code formating. Code formatting, or code conventions, really focus on how you name variables, methods, classes, etc. Yet, this is just the tip of the coding standards iceberg. One of the least discussed aspects of coding standards is the adoption and implementation practice of code design patterns. As developers, we need to better understand how adoption of patterns, frameworks and micro-architectures help structure our code. Not only do they provided rapid development but they also help guide us into a more structured development process.

As RIA and web application development expands we are seeing a demand for much more complex and scalable applications. Scalability is not just about user load but includes further expansion of features and performance over time. More and more developers are being asked to create applications that have a lifespan longer then just a few months. Some people may gaffe at that comment, but if you look at a lot of “rich” applications up to this point, most have been for marketing campaigns and advertising. The nature of these kinds of projects do not focus on lifespan and version updates. Their focus is on making them work in a short time to meet the marketing deadline and then get them out the door.

With the trend of Web 2.0 (which I hate as a term), the web world is quickly being pushed into the long standing Desktop Software model. This is forcing a lot of us to re-evaluate how we design and develop our online enabled applications. This is a scary yet wonderful time in our industry as we are rapidly adopting and developing new ways of web application design and construction. Due to this push I feel its time to help expose more of us to coding standards. My article is more a call to arms then a definitive guide to coding standards implementation. If you are interested, take a read and add your thoughts to the comments…

  1. 4 Responses to “Adobe Edge Article: Coding Standards”

  2. By srivello on Aug 12, 2008

    Great Article in edge. I’m hosting a panel at 360|Flex, San Jose on the same topic. Thanks for the info!

    Samuel Asher Rivello

  3. By srivello on Aug 12, 2008

    Great Article in edge. I’m hosting a panel at 360|Flex, San Jose on the same topic. Thanks for the info!

    Samuel Asher Rivello

  4. By James on Aug 28, 2008

    I am glad you liked the post! I am bummed I missed 360|Flex in SJ. Being in San Francisco I should have hit both that and FlashForward. Unfortunately my schedule has been slammed recently. I have been checking out the sessions in AMP and I am doubly upset now. I hope you session went well!!

  5. By nulls102 on Oct 17, 2008

    Thanks for sharing this news .

    Best regards


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