SaaS best practices and coding standards are topics that could be discussed endlessly. Organisations have their own coding standards which can differ depending upon industry. This post will describe some of the main reasons people should and do follow SaaS best practices.
Fairly often engineering teams and developers discover problems with their code after having launched something or when it has reached end users. It is at this point when best practices should have already been used and problems may now occur.
Are you familiar with them?
Although most people working with code know about the idea of best practices, they are frequently not followed. Sometimes they are completely disregarded altogether. But it’s important to delineate between two different ways best practices are not followed: consciously and unconsciously.
Knowing you’re ignoring best practices suggests you’re already working at a higher level. You have possibly made a decision as to why you’re choosing to ignore that suggestion. But you are experienced or well read enough to know that conventional wisdom suggests you should be taking a different route.
Unknowingly ignoring best practices is a more dangerous place to be in. Not only does it mean you are likely storing up issues for the future, it means you’re doing it without the knowledge you’re doing that. There are no decisions and trade-offs to be calculated. Any risks incurred are hidden from your view for now, waiting to explode at inopportune moments and derail projects. This is not a situation you want to be in.
What are the issues with not following best practices?
Diverting from best practices can create major problems down the road. This can include preventing collaboration, increased technical debt and a worse user experience. Developers’ productivity can also suffer in the long term. Thing are more likely to go wrong, meaning developers will have to manually correct errors more frequently.
Once you deviate from the standard best practices, you adopt your own style. Whilst it can work at the time, if a problem appears in the future when you look back it is hard to decipher the problem, let alone the code. Not to even mention how hard it might be for other people to understand your work. Whereas if you follow the industry standard best practices, your code will be readable to most people. Especially if you properly comment it, an often overlooked solution. This is essential when multiple developers may be working on the same piece of code at the same time. Best practices can be vital for collaboration.
Security is also something to consider when following or not following best practices. They can help to make sure the code is secure and reduce the chance significantly that malicious actors will have an opening. Straying from best practices often leads to flawed solutions. Later down the road they could impact security and cause projects to be shut down or restarted. In some cases you could even be looking at a data breach with all the potential impact on revenues that might cause.
Benefits of SaaS best practices
The benefits of using best practices are vast including a potential increase in productivity. This increase in productivity is due to fewer bugs occurring, fewer instances of code duplications and fewer errors. This all means that following best practices often increases your team’s efficiency and cost-effectiveness. Projects, especially on older platforms, should be shorter as a result, with less additional technical debt added. This is important as the bigger your technical debt, the more expensive projects can become. Especially anticipate unexpected costs.
These projects also become less risky with best practices applied as there would be a certain amount of checks happening and the best practices themselves are less likely to produce bugs later on in the code. All of these lead to a more stable working environment, a lower cost and better results. Best practices also decrease the need for a hierarchical team as fewer checks are needed as the code is generally good quality from all levels of the team.
Are SaaS best practices always consistent?
Industry standards can definitely differ for best practices. Factors that cause differing standards include the coding language, scale of the project, your organisation and the application you’re working with. Yet some remain constant. It is always better to keep your code simpler for instance. It is a good idea for your team to build their own set of best practices. Adopt some more general ones and then think specifically about the standards you wish to hold yourself to. Perhaps you have a naming convention or a very strict security practice. For some ideas to start off with, you can review the Quality Clouds’ best practices.
So how do I actually follow them?
Traditionally you’d have to either memorise them or do manual code reviews checking for these best practices in every piece of code you write. Unsurprisingly, there are few organisations out there that can afford to invest time in full manual code reviews. So with that in mind, different solutions are appearing which can help you automate your best practice reviews. What would take a team hours or days to do, can be done in a matter of minutes. Quality Clouds provide one of those solutions, with a constantly updated and customisable best practice library for ServiceNow, Salesforce and Office 365.
If you want more information about how Quality Clouds can help automate your best practice reviews and let you easily adopt your own customised list then book a demo!