It’s time for the compulsory end of the year post about everything that changed in my life. Instead of going too in depth on that front, I’d like to comment on what I think I’ve done this year to make me a better developer. I’d think of it as advice I’d love to have received myself.
Use an RSS Reader to get the News you Want
It’s important to get the information you want, without wasting too much time. Having the news at your fingertips is great, but it’s important to remove the feeds that are just wasting your time as well. You can always add those to Del.icio.us and grab them later without the feeds of course.
Use Subversion for everything you can
Getting a subversion setup in your home PC often isn’t worth it. You reformat every now and again, you wouldn’t be able to use it outside of your home and you have to do a lot of work to get it setup. There are plenty of Subversion servers out there cheap now though, and your web host may even offer svn access, Dreamhost does for instance. Play around with SVN, get the basics of working with source control down, learn about tagging and branches and how to use them with deployment for even more benefit. Putting your personal code behind a private svn repository helps in case something happens, but just as importantly gives you some experience with it for when you really need it later. A few Eclipse plugins for subversion matured this year as well.
Embrace what you know, embrace what you don’t know
Chances are there’s a community around the development work you do. Find and and embrace what you love working on! But don’t close your mind to other languages, frameworks or methodologies or you’ll never benefit from them.
Don’t just read about your language of choice
Refining skill in your primary language is important, but there is a higher level than code where knowledge doesn’t rely on a specific language. Books like The Pragmatic Programmer , Code Complete and Peopleware can make you a better developer and better at managing regardless of what language you’re working with.
Read other peoples code
Reading code from other people at your workplace is important for a lot of reasons, but reading other professional code outside is a great way of learning. With Google Code Search and RiaForge it’s easy to find examples to learn from.
Embrace OpenID and Microformats
OpenID and MicroFormats will be making a big splash in the new year as their adoption rate grows. In the end it’s all dependent on the developer community whether or not these make it big or not though. If they can help you out, use them, if they can’t, support someone else who is. :)
Join the community!
In the Adobe community there are more ways than ever before to join the community. You can go to conferences like Frameworks Conference , CF Objective or CF United . You can start an open source project over at RiaForge or at Google Code . You can respond to questions on the many House of Fusion mailing lists. The most important thing is just to take pride in what you do. If you don’t you won’t enjoy it as much, and chances are you’ll wish you were doing something else. Love what you do!