tenpastmidnight blog

Making hay while the sun shines

Specifications

I spent much of the week speccing - doing technical specifications for parts of the website we're building. Apparently I'm pretty good at it, but I think this is partly because other people don't enjoy writing specs, and although I don't find it the most fun in the world, I have a high enough boredom threshold that I can cope with it.

The general idea of a technical specification is that you set out what each part of the system you are making will do. In a way this takes much of the enjoyment out of creating the final product - actually writing the code that makes the website work, as you solve all, or at least most, of the problems before actually starting the code. The upshot of this is when you come to write the code it can be a little dull as there is nothing awkward to get around and fix. However, pretty much all projects benefit from having specifications written, and they are a definite must when several people are working on the same website, especially when they haven't worked together before and are not likely to do so again in the future.

Other advantages of a decent specification is it lets you see where code can be re-used between different scripts behind your site, and therefore the amount of bugs that will need to be tracked down and fixed, and if you're contracting, it gives your client a good idea of what you'll be doing for them, so if they want anything changed they can request it within good time for putting it in, without having to re-write code.
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