GEOG 863
GIS Mashups for Geospatial Professionals

4.5 Coding Tips


We'll end this lesson with some content that will hopefully make you a bit more successful as a coder. We’ll talk about development environments (where you write your code) and debugging tools. But first, here are a few tips that apply regardless of the kind of programming you're doing:

  • Write your code in baby steps. Start with something very simple (or a working sample that you modify slightly), test it, add a small piece, test again, etc. Avoid writing long blocks of code without testing. The more untested code you write, the harder it will be to identify errors.
  • When inserting an opening brace, bracket or parenthesis, insert the matching closing character at the same time. If you wait to do that until after you've finished entering the intervening statements, you're apt to forget.
  • When the JavaScript console reports multiple errors, fix just the first error, then reload the page. One error can cause several others to appear downstream; fixing it can cause the rest to disappear.
  • As with writing in general, the best way to get past a block is often to take a break and come back to the code later. With a fresh look at your code, it may take just minutes to find a bug that you had banged your head against the wall about for hours the night before.