This API or that Library – which one?

Last week, I was playing with a scraper program in Loklak Server project when I came across a library Boilerpipe. There were some issues in the program related to it’s implementation. It worked well. I implemented it, pulled a request but was rejected due to it’s maintenance issues. This wasn’t the first time an API(or a library) has let me down, but this added one more point to my ‘Linear Selection Algorithm’ to select one.

Once Libraries revolutionized the Software Projects and now API‘s are taking abstraction to a greater level. One can find many API’s and libraries on GitHub or on their respective websites, but they may be buggy. This may lead to waste of one’s time and work. I am not blogging to suggest which one to choose between the two, but what to check before getting them into use in development.

So let us select a bunch of these and give score +1 if it satisfies the point, 0 for Don’t care condition and -1 , a BIG NO.

Now initialize the variable score to zero and lets begin.

1. First thing first. is it easy to understand

Does this library code belongs to your knowledge domain? Can you use it without any issue? Also consider your project’s platform compatibility with the library. If you are developing a prototype or a small software(like for an event like Hackathon), you shall choose easy-to-read tutorial as higher priority and score++. But if you are working on a project, you shouldn’t shy going an extra mile and retain the value of score.

2. Does it have any documentation or examples of implementation

It shall have to be well written, well maintained documentation. If it doesn’t, I am ok with examples. Choose well according to your comfort. If none, at least code shall be easy to understand.

3. Does it fulfill all my needs?

Test and try to implement all the methods/ API calls needed for the project. Sometimes it may not have all the methods you need for your application or may be some methods are buggy. Take care of this point, a faulty library can ruin all your hard work.

4. Efficiency and performance (BONUS POINT for this one)

Really important for projects with high capacity/performance issues.

5. See for the Apps where they are implemented

If you are in a hackathon or a dev sprint, Checking for applications working on this API shall work. Just skip the rest of the steps (except the first).

6. Can you find blogs, Stack Overflow questions and tutorials?

If yes, This is a score++

7. An Active Community, a Super GO!

Yaay! An extra plus with the previous point.

8. Don’t tell me it isn’t maintained

This is important as if the library isn’t maintained, you are prone to bugs that may pop up in  future and couldn’t be solved. Also it’s performance can never be improved. If there is no option, It is better to use it’s parts in your code so that you can work on it, if needed.

Now calculate the scores, choose the fittest one and get to work.

So with the deserving library in your hand, my first blog post here ends.

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Can solving lint bugs be interesting?

Today I am going to present you how we’ve changed monotonous solving bugs into motivating process.

PEP

Most developers need to improve their code quality. To do  that they can use style guide for e.g for Python code (PEP). PEP contains an index of all Python Enhancement Proposals.

Below you can find which logs PEP returned in a command line.

Do you think that this logs’ presentation is  good enough to interest a developer? Will he solve these  thousands of bugs?

Undoubtedly, there are much information about errors and warnings so PEP returns long logs. But developer can not even know how to start solving bugs. And even if she/he finally starts, after each commit he/she needs to run that script again to check if quantity of bugs are increased or decreased. It seems to be endless, exhausting and very monotonous.  Nobody is encouraged to do it.

logi.png

Quality monitoring

Open Event team wants to increase our productivity and code quality. Therefore we use a tool which allow us to check code style, security, duplication complexity and test coverage on every commit. That tool is Codacy and it fulfils our requirements in 100%. It is very helpful because it adds comments to pull requests and enables developer quickly find where a bug is located. It’s very comfortable, because you don’t need to check issues in above awful logs results. Take a look how it looks in Codacy.

-DO NOT MERGE  Ticketing Flow by niranjan94 · Pull Request  1927 · fossasia open event orga server.png

Isn’t it clear? Of course that it’s. Codacy shows in which line issue ocurres and which type of issue it’s.

Awesome statistics dashboard

I’d like to give an answer how you can engage your team to solve issues and make this process more interesting. On the main page codacy tool welcomes you with great statistics about your project.

open event orga server   Codacy   Dashboard

You can see number of issues, category like code complexity, code style, compatibility, documentation, error prone, performance, security and unused code. That params show in which stage of code quality your project is. I think that every developer’s aim is to have the highest code quality and increasing these statistics. But if project has many issues, developer sees only a few changes in project charts.

Define Goals

Recently I’ve discovered how you can motivate yourself more. You can define a goal which you’d like achive. It can be goal of category or goal of file. For example Open Event team has defined goal for a specific file to achieve. If you define small separate goals, you can quicker see the results of your work.

open event orga server_2   Codacy   Goals

On the left sidebar you can find a item which is named “Goals”. In this area you can easily add your projects goals. Everything is user friendly so you shouldn’t have a problem  to create own goals.

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