What Developers Want (and Need) to Write Valuable Code

Backend DevelopmentEfficiencyScalability Collaboration
Yuval hazaz
Yuval hazaz
Nov 16, 2022
What Developers Want (and Need) to Write Valuable CodeWhat Developers Want (and Need) to Write Valuable Code

Software technology is always improving with new tools, frameworks, and programming languages to help developers solve the interesting problems end-users continuously face. While some layers of the traditional development environment are more stable than others, the reality is that a career as a developer is one where you need to constantly be learning over time. As I’ve progressed throughout my career, I’ve had the opportunity to experience every part of the software development process, from building frontend and backend services to implementing analytics pipelines. Each task has its own tools with its own levels of complexity to be managed and mastered.

Take enterprise software companies. They tend to have multiple backend services that are responsible for authentication, authorization, notification, or calendar management. There are separate teams for each of these services, and each one can even be implemented using different programming languages. Because of this, you have to learn a number of technologies and concepts for every applied programming language—testing tools, and libraries to interact with databases, design principles, or coding conventions. But learning and adapting to new technologies is only part of it. For software engineers, creating stable software requires solving problems with every component in software development. Just in backend development, sure, minor fixes can be self-contained within a single service, but the truly valuable code will span your application vertically, touching on multiple services and requiring a wide foundation of knowledge as a result. So let’s take a look at how developers can work more effectively in a complex application environment—and develop code that brings you the best ROI.

We will look at how Amplication can help you in this process.

Delivery is key… at first

Initial versions of software often have a ton of flexibility. With a low user base, product owners have a lot of opportunities to quickly change direction as they search for the ever-elusive product-market fit. A focus on quick delivery and minimum viable products lets you iterate quickly, but that velocity can come at the expense of best practices and standards. It’s hard to enforce strict test-driven development when there are only two developers on the team and a management chain waiting breathlessly for the first delivery. Well-designed software means you not only have to focus on delivery but also need to follow best practices in software development like writing tests for every testing level, making sure services are less coupled, or applying infrastructure as code to scale your application with hundreds or more services. If a software project deadline is coming up fast, you might feel the need to take a shortcut or apply some workaround to deliver the product quickly. Just try to keep these shortcuts to a minimum and make sure to have plans for refactoring them in the future. With too many workarounds, you’ll eventually have to deal with technical debt and unstable, highly coupled systems. So remember, over the long term, as your system and team scale, you’re going to have to slow down and reconfigure your delivery teams with a focus on reliability and effective design.

Collaboration within software development teams

Software projects don’t just need good technical teams with crafted technical skills but also good collaboration and working processes. Without these, your software project simply won’t succeed. Say you have an authorization team and a payment team working together to deploy a new feature that allows diamond customers to purchase products at a 50% discount. But the authorization team updates a field in the user object, causing the payment service to be unable to recognize the diamond user. As a result, your diamond customers can’t buy products at the discounted price. This is why good collaboration between software teams is so important. You could have prevented this issue by implementing contract testing for the two services so that if the authorization team updates code and breaks the existing contract, the payment team will immediately be alerted.

Scalability

There are two types of scalability I want to talk about. The first is scalability in terms of having more features and services in the software. The other has to do with how your application can scale to handle more workload from users’ traffic as the number of users grows. Software tends to grow. As development teams scale in headcount and delivered software increases in terms of its importance and number of people served, approaches such as domain-driven design, clean architecture, and others bring the focus to breaking apart the existing application into multiple services. This requires a coherent idea of the data—and the object modeling around data that are critical to your system. Developing this model requires time and effort; you can’t just do it as an afterthought. It takes identifying, documenting, and refactoring the object models that drive your critical system behavior. As your software product is released to production for public users, and your users are loving it, you have to deal with more and more people coming to use your application. Company revenue spikes, and everybody is happy… until you notice that your application can’t scale to meet the current workload from so many users. This is not uncommon. During the first phases of a software development project, you’re focused on features, not performance. But in order to scale your application to handle more workload, you’ll need to redesign the software architecture, optimize the code, and set up infrastructure to automatically scale up when users are using the application—and scale down to save costs when they’re not.

Reducing barriers to delivery

To deliver a high-quality product with well-tested and robust code efficiently, you need to slow down your teams at the individual level so that the collective teams can move forward more confidently together. Each team’s specialization will have custom knowledge, edge cases to be aware of, and integrations, whether with internal services or third parties. By assigning these concerns to other teams or outsourcing specific tasks to individuals with an explicit focus on a given solution, you free up your developers to focus on their core strengths and deliver the code that brings your company forward. Once you’ve clearly defined this separation of concerns, you can then leverage third-party tools and other force multipliers to ease the adoption of related configurations and platform specifications.

Using Amplication to reduce software delivery time

To reduce software delivery time, you need the right tool to structure your code as well as best practices to follow. Amplication is an open-source backend development platform designed to help developers write valuable code more quickly. It generates all the core functionality for your application, with all the boilerplate code needed to produce a scalable, production-ready backend. This includes APIs, an authentication layer, application logging, database schema, and connection management, along with other critical components for building a properly stratified application. Amplication lets you focus on writing code that is valuable to your users—without having to compromise on design, best practices, customizability, or quality.

Make your developers’ lives easier

Developers need to be free to build high-quality software with minimal external distractions. The rapid rate of change in technology today means many developers end up spending a lot of time trying to stay up-to-date on the technologies needed to ship features. This fast-paced dynamics also means that teams often have to create new services from scratch, break complex monolithic applications into separate services, or create microservices architecture over and over again. Abstracting this away lets you focus more effectively on your strengths. Leveraging third-party tools like Amplication can be a force multiplier, helping developers move more quickly by getting rid of the distractions at other levels of the stack.

To see what Amplification can do for your team, get started today.