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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

Learn more about UX tracking metrics that can help you

With UX being a subjective, human and ever changing experience, it can be seen as difficult to track. However, there are some key tell-tale signs that you should be tracking in order to assess the overall user experience of your website.   Common metrics to use when tracking UX   1. Tracking how long it takes visitors to fill out your forms If your contact forms take too much time to fill in, your visitors or potential clients may get frustrated and fail to complete the form. Forms need to be simple, short and easy. Some tips to keeping forms user friendly and easy to fill in include:

  • keeping the number of fields as simple as possible,
  • Keeping the number of fields to as few as possible, there will be opportunity to ask for more information later on in the customer journey.
  • Testing your form yourself, if you struggle to fill out the fields during testing then you definitely need to relook it!
  • Add a confirmation page or message to let your user know that they have submitted successfully
  2. How many fields are skipped in submitted forms? Do you allow for optional fields in your forms? If you do, do you find a trend on certain fields not being submitted? These fields may be too much trouble for your users to fill in - remember, most visitors are lazy when needing to contact you. Make it as easy as possible but also, its important to ensure that you aren’t being too intrusive when requiring information in your forms. If it’s not ‘need to know’ information, then cut it from your form. These skipped fields give you a good idea as to what your user is thinking and feeling. Make sure to keep an eye on how your forms are submitted and what your users are subconsciously telling you.   3. Analyse your user experience with the use of heat maps Heatmaps give you the best view of the journey your visitors take when visiting your page. From where they are clicking to the amount of engagement a page gets and where. Simple things from users clicking your logo top of page to which links they view as engaging and click through to, these insights help you better optimise your page.      4. Collect feedback from customers and your customer service department Your customer service department is front facing - these are the people that will know what users are saying about your website and they are able to provide insights into where your UX issues. If you haven’t already - this is a great place to start your UX measurement and feedback journey.   If you need an expert to help you with your website, then give CakeDC a call. CakeDC - the experts behind CakePHP.  

Does your website suffer from these challenges? Some tips to fix them!

If you haven’t had a good hard look at your website in a while, now is the time to do so. You will probably find a few things that you’d like fixed. These are the most common challenges that websites fail to fix in time.   Content and technology that is out of date If you had your website built years ago, chances are that it is (severely) out of date. This leaves you vulnerable to security breaches amongst other things. Content is another part of your website that goes out of date, do a spring clean of your overall content and make sure everything listed on your site is still relevant and well organized.   No Call to action for your visitors Are you missing call-to-action triggers such as “Download”, “Contact Us”, “Get started” or “Sign up for free”. You may be losing valuable conversions by not encouraging visitors to engage with your content and brand. This is a quick and easy fix - ideally, you should be checking and updating this type of content regularly to keep abreast of website visitor trends.   Lack of branding It is important as a business owner to make your brand reliable and trustworthy, it is also important to make sure your website correctly displays your clear brand message. Who are you, what do you offer and what tone do you use to project your brand to your clients.   Traffic woes due to SEO troubles If you are not seeing good traffic onto your site, the main culprit may be poor SEO practices. Be sure to regularly check your analytics tracking and if you seeing poor traffic landing on your site then the next port-of-call is to suss out your SEO elements. These include title tags, headlines, content, alt tags, file names, meta descriptions. It is also important to make sure these all align to your key brand message and product offering. The best trick is to select a core group of relevant and related keywords and build your SEO strategy around these.   Websites that haven’t been optimised for mobile If you (or your development team) has failed to quality test the appearance of your site across devices, then you are probably in the majority of companies that are not optimised for mobile. The time is now! Mobile optimised sites are becoming more and more important to business strategy as consumers are no longer bound to only browsing via their computers or laptops. Be sure to check that you are following best practices when optimising for mobile, such as common menu icons and icon placements.   Not sure if your website needs an overhaul? Contact the experts behind CakeDC today to find out more about our development services as well as how we can help you become leaders. CakeDC - We lead, so you can lead.  

Redesigning your website? Do not do this!

From increasing engagement through to increasing overall website performance, there may be aspects of your site that you are currently unhappy with or are looking to improve. Redesigning your website may be necessary due to lack of performance or a brand overhaul, but there are certain things that you should avoid at all costs when redesigning your website.   1. Not considering risk mitigation Most creative or marketing agencies offer web redesigns are part of their packages, however, often fail to outline the different risks that you may face. Such risks include loss of data, server failures, loss of website functionality, bugs and QA testing timelines. To fully understand your risk exposure, it is ideal to consider all individual changes or updates being made and then multiply by the depth of change for each element.   2. An overcrowded home page We understand, when given the opportunity to redesign your website, the first goal is to get all of your messaging across to your potential clients. However, the biggest mistake when doing this, is to inundate the user with too much information and overcrowd your homepage. This leaves visitors confused, overwhelmed - Users make a decision on whether or not to continue browsing after 3 seconds. It is important to ensure that all information is presented in a concise manner. Perhaps investigate infographics to reduce word dense designs.   3. It’s difficult to contact you Leaving out essential contact information or links to your social sites may discourage potential clients from trying to contact you. Keep your information handy in the footer of each page, as well as on its on contact page. The contact page gives you the opportunity to include a contact form as well as other relevant information that may be useful to your visitors.   4. Not having responsive web design and cross device QA testing Your website visitors will become frustrated if they are viewing your site on a device that has not been optimised for - leaving the page lacking user friendliness. Make sure to test a variety of devices and ensure your website has responsive web design.   5. Slow site speed and lack of optimisation Having a slow site can take away any favorable first impressions - make sure to optimise thoroughly when developing your site and ensure site speed is up to scratch.   6. Avoid poor or pixelated imagery Make sure to give proper image files to your development team. Including pixelated or poor imagery onto your site displays lack of professionalism to your visitors or potential clients.   Are you struggling with any of the above website redesign issues? Contact the CakeDC team today and speak to the experts behind CakePHP

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