Christian Maioli Mackeprang has a new post to his site sharing some of his recommendations of how you can deal with poor code in limited time when making changes (or adding new features) to an older codebase.
You’ve been given the task of implementing a new feature on an old codebase, but the code looks awful. How can you understand it as quickly as possible? Here are several shortcuts to help learn the important parts of new code without getting lost in the irrelevant details.
His list includes both technical and "people" related suggestions including:
- Ask for help
- Make it easy to reproduce bugs
- Prepare for automated testing
- Get on familiar ground before tackling critical code
For each item in the list he includes a summary of what's involved along with "dos" as well as "donts".