Determining and communicating development standards

On the back last week’s look at front end chapters, a reader asks:

My company is starting to grow out of the startup phase and is adding new developers to the team. We are starting to think about how do we manage best practices for front-end. How should we communicate these best practices? During code reviews? A doc site? During employee on boarding? How do you determine best practices?

I would first question the use of the term ‘best practices’. This is not the questioner’s fault. This terms has been been twisted over the years and is sometimes used to mean ‘the best way to do things, no argument.’

I prefer to convey a meaning closer to something like: ‘approaches we’ve taken the time to consider and feel are best for us at the moment, but may be subject to change.’ I’m not sure there’s a great single term for that. Not every ‘best practice’ is created equal.

Some things are more like fixed rules or standards that you are adamant about. Other things are woolly or less concrete (guidelines or advice).

There are really three fundamental activities here:

  1. Determining standards and guidance.
  2. Communicating and educating others.
  3. Ensuring conformance.

I’m going to take a look at each of these in turn over the course of the week. This is one of those topics that gets big quickly, and you’ve no doubt got important holiday activities to be engaging in.

In the meantime, reply and tell me one specific standard, rule or guideline that you’re irrationally opinionated about. Go on, we all have them. For me, if you use a <div> with onclick handlers instead of using a <button>, I will come round your house and frown at you very hard.

All the best,

– Jim

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