The idea behind publishing all of the information that helps us day-to-day is to retain knowledge and share it with each other. With so much involved in web development and with new tools and techniques being created and discovered all the time, it helps to keep track of it all.
We create new projects a lot. New projects and new services within projects, as we're advocates of service-oriented architectures. Starting a new project is actually quite involved and can take time away from the business of getting on and coding something, so we've made some re-usable templates that start us out with all the frameworks and libraries necessary for particular circumstances, that we've agreed that we like to have as a default.
As is often the case, there are patterns, algorithms and helpful bits of code that we end up using again and again. Copying and pasting that code as needed is one way to do it, but a smarter way is to wrap the useful stuff up as libraries. It takes a little additional effort, but becomes easier and easier the more its done. The benefits are that your colleagues and future selves can usually just drop these in to later projects, safe in the knowledge that its been fully tested and approved elsewhere, leaving you time to get on and work on the unique stuff.
More to come soon on libraries
Over time, as a developer you'll develop a mental map of routes you've taken to solve particular types of problem, that crop up time and again. These are design patterns. The good news is that others have also solved similar problems in the past and have refined their design patterns over time too. There's a wealth of information out there on the common ones and they're incredibly useful things to know about, as they help you get to the most appropriate solutions sooner.
More to come soon on design patterns
Learning from past projects
We run retrospectives at the end of each sprint and each project, hoping to understand what went right for everyone involved, as well as what could have gone better. It's important to record and understand both - so that we can consciously do more of the good stuff and work out ways to stop the not-so-good from occurring in the next project. Any changes to our process, our tools or our methodology we'll try and document here.
More to come soon on retrospectives
We make use of a lot of open source technology to achieve amazing things. As a business, we've decided that it's definitely ok to spend time fixing, improving and adding to open source software, as well as take the time to package up and release our own.