Techniques to Speed Up Software Development

In the fast-paced world of software development, time is a critical resource. Streamlining the development process not only saves time but also enhances the quality of the final product.

I will go through all the things that may seem waste of time at the beginning of a project but will be very beneficial on the long run.

Where AI Shines?

The right set of tools can drastically reduce development time. I use and recommend all Jetbrain’s IDE’s regardless of the language I develop in.

There are many scripting languages and code editors that just have code highlight and code navigation. This is a recipe for disaster, you need to have a linter that constantly runs while developing and you should be able to catch the errors before running the application.

Also with proper tooling, you can speed up your debugging process tremendously by using conditional breakpoints, watch variables, and edit & continue (❤ C#) all within the IDE. I remember the mind blown when my dear business partner showed me first time that you can move the execution of the program to a previous point where the program hit the break point and run without re-compiling.

You might hesitate to invest time in learning a new tool, but you will quickly gain back multiples of the time you invested by learning the shortcuts and quirky functionalities of your IDE.

Hot Reload

In line with tooling, choosing technologies that allows hot reload can greatly enhance development speed. Languages and frameworks like Flutter, React, and .NET Core have built-in hot reload capabilities.

This feature enables you to see the effects of your code changes in real-time, without recompiling your application and going through all the necessary manual steps to see the code change.

Hot reload is is most effective for the tasks that require iteration to make an experience feel right, fine-tuning the animations or ui development. So wherever possible, use the technologies that support hot reloading.

Mocking

In development, reliance on external services or databases can significantly slow down progress.

Mocking simulates the behavior of external systems, allowing developers to continue their work uninterrupted.

This approach facilitates a smoother and faster development process, as it removes the need for network calls, manual testing, and external system availability or in some cases testing costs.

In our latest project we had a dependency to a racing game that we were receiving the telemetry data and both process and display these on realtime. Instead of playing the game every time we want to test anything, we recorded a session and wrote an application that emits this session data as if the game is being played. Also it allows you to test multiple instance behavior.

So even though it will not make into production, sometimes you need to develop additional applications to mimic external dependency behavior.

Debug Interfaces

If testing a feature requires multiple steps or clicks, consider creating a hidden interface or a special command to access that feature directly or if you need to fine tune some values, creating an interface would speed up the things drastically.

This approach significantly reduces the time spent navigating through the application to reach the desired state, thereby speeding up the development and testing cycle.

Use this approach when you need to play around with the parameters for fine tuning or allow your decision makers to change different behaviours without new builds.

Unit Testing

While Test-Driven Development (TDD) is not a universal solution, the strategic use of unit tests can expedite the development process. Writing unit tests for parts of the code that are complex or time-consuming to test manually can save considerable effort.

These tests also have a long term benefit on making sure the code is not broken with a new feature added.

Deployment

Having a robust CI/CD pipeline is crucial.

Continuous Deployment automates the deployment process, ensuring that new changes are smoothly transitioned to the production environment without manual intervention.

This setup is particularly beneficial in identifying and addressing environment-specific issues early in the development cycle, preventing them from becoming time-consuming problems later on. In addition avoiding the possibility of manual errors.

Conclusion

Speeding up the development process is not about cutting corners; it’s about optimising the workflow and employing strategies that reduce unnecessary delays.

To speed up in the long run, it is best to slow down and employ the necessary strategies for your project.

Written By Emrah Ozer
Polyglot & multidisciplinary developer for over 20 years, lifelong learner, co-founder of Rightsoft. Follow me on twitter @emrahozer