As specialist Umbraco developers, we often get called into projects when they hit a crisis. Either something has gone badly wrong, the relationship had gone sour, or there’s no single issue to point the finger at, but a million small cuts.
So we’ve got a lot of experience in what can go wrong on a project. And one of the things we see time and time again is websites and webapps built by agencies that don’t follow best practice like using source control systems.
Why does this matter? Source control systems like Git and Subversion are databases for the code that developers write. They’re important because they provide a safe and reliable place to access the source code of the website when you want things changed.
Of course, many buyers of websites and apps aren’t specialists in software development, so don’t necessarily know about things like source control. We understand that, so we’re here to help.
There are three things we always recommend asking any developer you’re thinking of working with to get an idea of how robust their procedures - and thus your code / site - will be:
Do you use a source control system? If they say no, then steer clear;
How often do you save code into the system? Anything less than daily is a warning sign;
Tell me about the branching and merging strategy you use. If they don’t have one, or can’t tell you clearly what they do, then that’s also a warning sign.
Of course, life isn’t simple. Developers don’t have to use a source control system, as they can get by with Zip file backups of the site code.
But if as a buyer you don’t have access to the source code of your website, or you can’t rely on the code that your developers provide you with because they have poor development practices, then the impact on your business can be significant.
In an extreme example, we’ve seen agencies with poor coding practices and no effective copy of an Umbraco site’s source code become completely paralysed. They were unable to make any changes to their site without investing tens of thousands of pounds in testing to either establish the source code or rebuild the entire application.
So next time you commission a new website, make sure youcontact us. We’d love to show you how we always follow Umbraco best practice when delivering new sites, as well as all the other brilliant things we can do for you.
Finally, if you’re suffering the effects of bad buying decisions from a previous Umbraco site purchase, using ourHealth Check servicecould help you get things back on track.