Establishing Knockoutjs Design Patterns

Now that I have been tinkering with Knockout for about a year, I have finally settled on a host of design patterns that I feel strike a nice balance between rigid consistency and flexible prototyping.  I like to have all of my code look very similar.  I can look at most code that I have written and know about when I worked on it last.  I can usually even look at code that several other developers have touched and see what is mine and what is everyone else’s code.  Now that I have a team to direct and an expanding code base to maintain, I have realized that I need to document my own code patterns.

Certainly, my way probably is not the absolute best, but it is what I like and what has worked best for me.  Might I change my mind?  Absolutely.  Probably even before I finish writing this post, I will have changed my mind on several points.  However, this is a good place to start.

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Two days later, as I started to write up the actual rules I had been following, I decided to look around and see if other people have put together lists of their own.  It brought me to this Programmers (Stack Exchange) question, which had a very nice explanation on why what I was doing was a bad idea.

It’s important for a team to have a single coding standard for each language to avoid several problems:

  • A lack of standards can make your code unreadable.
  • Disagreement over standards can cause check-in wars between developers.
  • Seeing different standards in the same class can be extremely irritating.

I’m a big fan of what Uncle Bob has to say about standards:

  1. Let them evolve during the first few iterations.
  2. Let them be team specific instead of company specific.
  3. Don’t write them down if you can avoid it. Rather, let the code be the way the standards are captured.
  4. Don’t legislate good design. (e.g. don’t tell people not to use goto)
  5. Make sure everyone knows that the standard is about communication, and nothing else.
  6. After the first few iterations, get the team together to decide.

So much for that idea.

What have I learned?  Well, I have learned that I like this idea of doing two weeks of off-the-cuff posts, and then spending one week putting together a longer post with lots of research and information in it.  I also learned that I should do the research for that post at the beginning of the week, instead of at the end of the week.  I think I will be coming back to this idea, but it will be less formal that the list of edicts I started putting together.  Perhaps a screen-shot of source code with annotations will be the good balance between formality and flexibility.

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