Backend development refers to server-side development involving databases, scripting, and website architecture. As a backend developer, you have a range of technologies to choose from PHP, Ruby, Python, Java, Node.js, .NET, and many more. While the technology you pick will have pros and cons, some common backend developer mistakes are common irrespective of the language or platform you choose.
This article is for all backend developers, whether beginners or experienced, to help them avoid the most common mistakes that backend developers commit.
Over-engineering/over-optimizing the code
The most common backend developer mistake is over-optimizing or over-engineering the code. While using bad coding practices like writing very long functions/methods, too many indentation levels, poor variable naming, missing tests, and missing documentation leads to unmanageable and hard-to-maintain code, over-optimization of the code is also a trouble.
At times backend developers get too far engineering the code using a sophisticated block of code when a much simpler solution would have worked just fine. Backend developers often ignore the KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) principle of clean code.
Over-optimization of the code leads to wasted development time as each subproblem creates an overhead adding to the project’s complexity. When working on large projects, including every new feature can exponentially increase development time. Every possible scenario must be tested to ensure the new feature doesn’t cause any errors.
Every time you think there is a need for a new feature, consider the benefits it will have compared to testing its compatibility with the rest of the code. Is it worth over-engineering? Also, consider the functional and technological lifespans of the feature to evaluate how long the feature will be used and what technologies will go into creation.
If the final result indicates that the technical depth or over-engineering will make the maintenance of the project too tricky, refactor your approach to include more standard best practices.
Missing or not testing code at each level
Backend developers are leaving the onus on testers to do the testing; they are committing another common backend developer mistake. You cannot test for every possible error or bug, but you must write and run tests at each stage to catch as many errors as possible early on. Improper or no testing is one of the most common developer mistakes that beginner backend developers commit.
Keep in mind that when you do not test your code, you create an unpredictable and unstable backend. Furthermore, maintaining such code is impossible as other developers will not easily be able to understand what went wrong and why.
Make it a standard practice to write and run tests at both stages when you build a feature and when you fix specific bugs. Fortunately, there is an easy solution to rectify this mistake. Learn the Test-Driven Development (TDD) approach for writing backend code. Simply put, TDD is a practice of writing test cases for each functionality and testing them first. The functionality is first fixed if the test fails before writing the following code.
Not monitoring microservices
Microservices make the life of backend developers a lot easier. These are micro pieces of code that function independently. Developers can import microservices into their code directly to enhance the features of their product. Login/signup sections of modern websites are an example. Today, most websites allow you to log in using your Google or social media accounts instead of manually creating an account. It exemplifies how microservices can make the overall user experience seamless, fast, and secure.
What’s the catch?
As backend developers are not responsible for microservices that often originate at a third-party source, they do not have control over its availability. For instance, if for some reason Google does not allow users to log in to a website, they will be left locked out. It will lead to a poor user experience, and the website will be branded as an unreliable service.
To avoid this common backend developer mistake, you must always provide an alternative to microservices. The users must not be left hanging because a microservice stops responding. Also, you must set up monitors for every microservice you use in a product to track its availability. Hopefully, it will inform you in time to take necessary action if the service is down.
These common developer mistakes can come up no matter at what point in your backend development career. We hope you understand the most common backend developer mistakes and their consequences on your product.
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