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TIPS, INSIGHTS AND THE LATEST FROM THE EXPERTS BEHIND CAKEPHP

CakeDC Git Workflow - Working Together

In our previous posts on the CakeDC Git Workflow we shared some insight on how the development strategy works, and how to get the most out of it. But one of the most important benefits it provides is the increased stability and consistency when working alongside others.

Collaboration and Code Review

Working in a team means that you can usually borrow someone else's eyes. In a cooperative and fast-paced environment, you have to. Period. And one situation that typically arises for this case during development is the "code review".

$ git checkout -t origin/feature/1234
$ git checkout -b review/1234
$ git push -u origin review/1234

Here, the reviewer fetched the feature/1234 branch, then created and pushed their own review/1234 branch. Then, they may propose some changes to the original code, for example:

$ git commit -m "Optimized this and that"

Once the review is complete, they'd then simply push their changes, like so:

  ... rebase ...
$ git push

Now you can use their branch, separately of your own, to clearly view the proposed changes.

$ git checkout -t origin/review/1234
$ git diff review/1234 feature/1234

And when everything is done and ready, just merge those changes in.

$ git checkout feature/1234
$ git merge review/1234
  ... rebase ...
$ git push

Finally, don't forget to always do some cleanup.

$ git branch -d review/1234
$ git push origin :review/1234

Like this, even that single reviewer's commit (assuming it wasn't squashed in some following rebase) is done in different branch, and clearly tied to the ID of the feature, keeping the story of your code clean and consistent for others.

Maintenance tasks

Using our workflow you'll find that both you and your coworkers will delete remote branches quite often. From time to time, it's good to remove references to non-existing remote branches from your local repository, as you don't want to see redundant branches in your git branch -av list. For this, you can simply prune your branches.

$ git remote prune origin

And don't be afraid to be completely thorough when cleaning the repository up, go for it all!

$ git gc && git clean -dfx && git stash clear

No fast forward merges

Sometimes it's just plain tedious to write --no-ff all the time, especially when we can set up git so we only use --ff when required. Via your project's git configuration file, you can either disable fast forwards for all merges directly, like so:

[merge]
    ff = false

Or, just for selected (permanent in this case) branches only:

[branch "master"]
    mergeoptions = --no-ff
[branch "stage"]
    mergeoptions = --no-ff
[branch "qa"]
    mergeoptions = --no-ff
[branch "develop"]
    mergeoptions = --no-ff

Then, for those cases where fast forward is desired, just use the --ff switch:

$ git checkout develop
$ git pull --ff

This is especially useful when you're collaborating with others, and those commits are flying around between you. Last thing you want is to get bogged down in merge conflicts!

Latest articles

Simplicity is important - here’s why

When it comes to web design, simplicity is not valued enough. Simplicity is important - but why? Simplicity reduces navigation confusion, makes the website look more sophisticated and can help in increasing site conversions (sign ups, contacts). All too often, web designers tend to miss the point of simplicity and over do the amount of information given on a single page - the need to get everything across at once can seriously hinder how much a website visitor is able take in. Over complicated pages can lead to higher than average bounce rates or lower on-page conversions. We thought we’d share with you some top tips to simplify your website.

  • Keep things along the 80-20 rule
    • Use the Pareto principle which is that 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. This means taking away as much as you can from your design that will not lead to any type of conversion. Take things back to the bare essentials and make those work properly
  • Embrace few colors in your theme
    • Does a monochrome color scheme work for you? If not, try out as few colors as possible. Work towards a design that requires less effort for your website visitor to process. Fewer colors will also give your site a sleek, classic look
  • Keep copy short and sweet
    • Embrace compelling copy but keep things shorter and to the point. Make your point quickly and keep things easy-to-read by sticking to a few key points. Use shorter sentences, and keep paragraphs to a maximum of 3-4 sentences for easy reading.
  • Fix your navigation
    • Often many sites have over complicated and lengthy navigation options. Remember to include navigation to your list of things to simplify today. Keep important and key pages in your navigation bar. Remove excess clutter and keep all navigation menus visible. Other key things to keep in mind is the use of universal icons as well as ensuring a sitemap in your footer - these are all standard items that visitors look for.

How Much Does it Cost to Design a Site?

If you are in the market for a website or application, it can sometimes be daunting. Being unsure of where to start, which development firm to use or how much the whole process is going to cost you can be truly overwhelming. And then there are those horror stories of others, who selected a developer based solely on cost (the cheapest quote perhaps) and ended up majorly down the hole with their budgets, while owning a unfinished website. Whether you are in the market for a website application with a specific outline and goal, or have a rough idea of what you need your application to do, how do you go about finding the best selection for you? And then how do you know that whoever you select is going to deliver what you want and in the time frame that you need it? And then, not knowing how to code yourself, you can land up frustrated at not understanding the process - especially if your development team gives you the runaround. At CakeDC, we are committed to a transparent workflow - we've created our own git workflow (MIT license) and we've used it successfully with our clients for 3+ years and dozens of projects. We use it to accelerate growth and innovation providing the highest quality application development. What sets CakeDC apart from others is that our experts listen closely to your needs. Second, we formulate a roadmap of milestones based on your specifications. Third, we offer guidance while delivering the highest quality results in a fraction of other developer’s time, by doing things The Right Way™ So how much is it going to cost you? Well this is of course dependent on what you project scope includes, however, we will work with you in determining the best package to suit your requirements. You can check out all of our rates and packages here. Ready to get your project started? Reach out to our experts today to see how easy it can be to get your application up and running.

What your website users are trying to tell you

Every visitor to your website has a goal in mind - this may not be a conscious goal, but they are visiting your site for a reason. So listening to your users feedback is key to meeting their expectations! As a business owner, be sure to keep these in consideration and as a developer, be sure to pass these recommendations through to your clients. What are some things that users are trying to tell you and how do you find out? What and why is it Often people forget about the basics and fail to include what their product, service or business is. By excluding this vital information there will be users who will not know what the purpose of the page that they have stumbled upon is, but what to do next - and therefor bounce quickly off of your site. Where is your pricing information? If you are trying to sell something - a product or a service - be sure to include the price information as this is used by your visitor to determine their next action. Even if you are providing resources in return for their details, it is important to be clear. Where are those testimonials or reviews? Have others tried it People like to know that whatever they are investing money into is worth it - reviews or customer testimonials help to show your visitors what you can do. Be sure to add this information in a way that is easy for you visitors to find. Where can I sign up or contact you Another vital piece of information that many often forget is to let your visitors know how to signup and contact you. Perhaps you have chosen to hide your contact information due to spam bots or other issues faced, however, if you are in the business of recruiting clients, then be sure to have some form of contact information easily available to your visitors.
Not sure if you are missing anything? CakeDC, the experts behind CakePHP, offer a range of services including consulting, guiding you through the best practices with your CakePHP application.

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