Modularize your development process

Since I’ve started using WordPress as my choice platform for web development, I’ve been “modularizing” my development system. What does this mean? In the past, I would haphazardly make a half-cocked plan of action and get to work immediately.

Now I load the chamber with strategic bullets that allow me to get going…faster.

Frameworks and Modules

Modularize your CSS by using a framework (I like Blueprint), a reset.css, and make a general CSS file where you keep commonly used snippets. I often found myself referencing code from a site I built because I remember a technique I used there. Now I have a “cssmodules.css” file that holds neatly commented snippets to style bullets, link, comments and much more.

Keep the best, ditch the rest

Download and keep the best plugins and scripts; the ones you use the most. I suggest “Ultimate Google Analytics”, “Google XML Sitemap Generator”, “All in one SEO Pack”, “Sociable”, and any others that you use and find yourself returning to their webpage to download again. I also suggest doing the same for javascripts, fla. files, etc. Anything you use a lot.

All graphics are not icons

Modularize popular files and their types. All graphics are not the same type. For instance, keep all icons in a folder called “Icons” and all textures in a folder called “textures”; all patterns in a folder called patterns. I have an entire folder of “working .PSDs”. You get it.

Smart CSS

Take a moment to define the color classes in your CSS file, somewhere near the top. Chances are you will be using these for a lot of things – rollover colors, borders, fonts, etc. Not all of us can remember the hex code for light blue after all. It’s much easier to remember a class name of “ltblue” however.

Use Subversion

Just do it. I don’t but I should (and will). It would really save a lot of time and frustration.

That’s all I can think of for now. Do you have any tips you want to share about how to streamline your development process?

Mike

Michael Meisner is a code-slinging, data crunching, growth hacking extraordinaire. He combines these powers to create traffic generation strategies and drive brand awareness for clients he works with. When he's not staring at a computer screen he can be found sipping a glass of wine with his Pit Bull and wife by his side.

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