Most web developers will sympathize with this.
You’re working on an exciting personal project utilizing the latest and greatest framework. The late-night hours you have spent are paying off, and despite your fatigue, you are adamant to complete it and share it with the world. But then life happened. Work becomes pretty intense and the mere idea of opening up your laptop when you get home makes you anxious and break into a cold sweat. Sound familiar?
A month or two pass, your job has settled down and you can now find the time to dive right back into your project, but there is a problem. The code you wrote back then was under thought, you have no idea where to start and the project does not capture your attention anymore. Put simply, you lost momentum and focus.
These kinds of projects eventually end up in what I call the Development Graveyard. A place where a project dies and often never get resurrected. This may seem like a bad thing but in reality, it’s not, allow me to explain.
Your graveyard can be a source of learning, reflecting and aid you in your current web development projects.
Regardless of how bad or incomplete these projects may seem to be, they provide a treasure trove of great code references. This code can likely help you with your current projects. Sometimes just seeing old code can give you an altered perspective to solve current development problems.
The same goes for your job. Your client could be asking for something very specific and you just happened to build something like this a year ago. Since you have a development graveyard in place, your ability to use it as a valuable resource. Imagine the time savings if you were able to leverage some of your old code. Your boss will love you!
Finally, it shows how you have progressed over time which makes you feel accomplished. I often look back at my old work and can’t believe how I have come and how far technology has progressed. Take this a confidence booster and a learning tool.
If you have a graveyard already or would like to bury some old work, I would suggest adding a readme file, so you can get a quick summary of what you are working on. Some of you might be doing this already. But there is nothing worse than looking at a codebase and wondering what the heck it is for what it does. And of course, store it in a repo.
Personally, my graveyard is sprawling. But it serves as a place to visit when I forgot how to do something. Or when I need a little inspiration. But it would be nice to not send projects out to pasture, wouldn’t it? Of course, and that’s for another post I’m writing.
Celebrate your graveyard. Visit it often and learn from it.