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Horribly Coded Sites

by Darkademic in Web Development   0 comments

As a professional web developer, it's my job to make sure all the websites I make are coded nicely to ensure firstly that everything runs efficiently and bug-free, and secondly that future development will be relatively straightforward. Being a massive perfectionist is pretty useful here because it means I've adopted a very strict coding standard which I use for every project.

Over the past month or so I've been tasked to work on some websites that have been built by other developers in order to improve them, but in the end I decided it would be quicker and more beneficial in the long-term to just completely re-do these websites from scratch because the code was absolutely abysmal.

PHP (the language that I primarily use to make functional websites and which is used on over 20 million websites) is quite relaxed, in that it's very easy to write horrible code which still works. Apparently, even supposedly professional web developers have a tendency to write horrible code, and worse they can get away with it because clients will rarely have the technical knowledge to know what "bad code" looks like. It's like a lot of professions where the amount of technical or specialised knowledge is quite high; car mechanics, electricians etc. Since clients often don't know what's going on, they also don't know if a good job has been done, so it allows so-called "cowboy builders", "cowboy car mechanics" etc. to exist. Well, cowboy web designers exist too.

The level of inconsistency, poor naming conventions, seemingly random indentation and complete absence of code commenting (somewhat of a necessity if the developer wanted to come back in a year and continue work on the site) that I've seen is really staggering. A lot of the code seemed to be just copied and pasted in. I don't know if this is down to sheer inexperience/incompetence, or just a complete disregard for the client and an attempt to quickly churn out a site as fast as possible in order to get paid, but either case is quite disheartening.

I really do hope these sites aren't representative of web development as a whole, but I fear they are.

In contrast, I take a lot of pride in the code I write, and if a client ever wanted me to show it to them and explain exactly what it does, I'd be delighted to do so.

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