Daily journal: #8

Going back to the basics when troubleshooting and handling ambiguity with action.

Thursday, October 20, 2022

Things learned

When things don't seem to work, go back to the basics

Today I coached a junior developer on setting up their dev environment. They haven't had the chance to work on frontend yet, and the big finale I wanted to drive in was the fact that we have a semi-hot reload functionality unlike the Java backend they're used to.

We run through the basics and get to the demo, I make some obvious text changes to demonstrate how quickly they show up, and.... none of my changes are showing. I knew the server was pointing to my cloud desktop environment, which I needed to use as a proxy to run the page, but no matter how many things I tried I couldn't get them to show.

After double checking my proxy cookies (a required step that points the proxy to my cloud desktop), restarting the server and scratching my head a few more times, I almost dove deep into if there was a bug that I wasn't aware of, or a change to the framework that no longer shows changes without restarting, etc.

But just before that, I realized that I had forgotten to start my sync script to copy my local changes to the cloud desktop. I quickly ran the script and voila, the changes are live.

Even better for next time would be to make a checklist for our README.md that would go through these steps to make sure you do all of the simple things before diving into the hard parts trying to fix a problem that isn't there.

Things to improve

When it's unclear of what to do next, just do something

The project that I've been on lately has a lot of moving parts. There are many different teams collaborating, but not a lot of communication with important things like end-to-end testing, end-to-end experiences, and dependencies.

With so many things up in the air, it's easy to feel a bit overwhelmed on what the next priority is. Instead of thinking too long on what's the best thing to focus on, I get the best results by writing down everything I can think of so it's no longer clouding my thoughts, reaching out to my team to ensure we're all aware and properly delegate what we're strongest at and then start hacking away at the first thing on this much smaller list of tasks.

Random thoughts

It feels good to be writing again

I haven't done my daily journal for a few months and have been missing it deeply.

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