I'm refactoring the framework of our company, trying to fix the issues we had in the past.
We're a team of 6 developers, and we have various needs and issues in regards to tidying up our framework.
Right now, we want it to be the solution we import in all our projects, because it has all the code we reuse every time. The solution would contain several projects, one for each feature. For example, we dont want to have our social network classes in all our projects, so that's in a separate project. But all our string extensions or authentication classes can be in the main project, since it's pretty much needed every time.
So in the end this solution will contain a lot of code, a lot of projects, and a lot of namespaces. Which is good, tidy, organized, but stuff becomes hard to find.
My question is, as a developer, how do I know if the code I need already exists in that framework ? Lets say I need to resize an image, for the sake of the example. I'll maybe search the code for
Image and find about a thousand results. I'll search for the word
size and face the same problem, so I'll try
resizing and see that the code does not exist in the few results I've got. Right? No.
In the end, it already existed, but was called
changeSize(), and now I've written the same code twice, under two different names. I've placed it in a namespace/folder called
extensions and lets say the other one was in
Now the problem is, I didnt know it existed, I tried to find it and couldn't find it. And where I looked manually it wasn't there, so in all good faith I made a mistake. How can this be avoided? Everyone should know the complete framework ? We could ask around ? We could write a complete documentation ? That seems somewhat unreasonable, because lets face it, we won't have the time or motivation/dedication to just read code for the sake of knowing it exists, asking every time I need something is quickly gonna get out of hand and annoying, and the documentation has to be both maintained and checked, which comes back to the first problem : not enough time, not enough discipline.
This is pretty bad, but I must admit that is the reality of what we're in. We've come up with a some solutions, but its not enough :
Every time you want to add code to the framework, it has to be through pull requests, which everyone has to read and approve. You don't have to review, just browse so you might remember it. That way learning the framework will come slowly, but it will eventually. That only helps for future changes, but it's something.
We add a series of tags for each class which we consider valuable keywords, like on stackexchange, to help people find the classes they need. Those tags will be extracted because they're documented, and so you should be (haven't tested yet) able to find classes by tags in the docs, or just use
Findsolution-wide and see the results on the various tags you could type. Exemple in the following image
This is not perfect, it has flaws, but that's where we're at.
Finally, my question : how do we improve on this? How do you guys do it? We keep writing the same code twice or even forgetting stuff exists. And even if we know it exists, we sometimes struggle to find what we wrote ourselves just because there are so many classes and different names one thing could be called.