Are you a Pull-Stack developer?

No, no, it’s not a typo. I’m not talking about full-stack developers. A pull-stack developer is a developer that will copy code from different sources, not understanding or creating his own code. He is “pulling” code. Where do you stand in the whole copy and paste code situation?

I definitely was a pull-stack developer

To be totally honest with you, at first, I was a BIG user of CTRL+C CTRL+V. When I started to work as a web developer, I had no background using HTML/CSS/JavaScript/Angular, etc… Thus, whenever I had an issue I will google it, find code snippets online on websites like Stack Overflow. I will copy and paste the lines in my code, praying for it to work on the first time. Then I will spend time debugging this unknown code, or I will add more code from other sources on top of it. I will create such a mess in my code!! Talk about unmaintainable code, haha! I couldn’t even read it.

Now that I understand more what I am doing, I try not to replicate the same mistakes I did years ago. First, I try to understand my issue: what is the problem exactly? Then, if I am still stuck, I have a clear idea of how to describe the issue, so I can start looking for answers on Google.

Comparing and understanding

Google will provide me with different kind of sources. Like a lot of developers, my biggest friend is obviously Stack Overflow, it saved my life so many times!! However, I also like to start by reading the results that come from official documentation, so if I have a problem with Angular, I’ll go through the results from documentation. If it is an HTML problem, I’ll prefer to look at w3c school website for example.

Nevertheless, if my issue is very specific, and it is not answered on these kinds of websites then I will turn to a community-type based website, and I will go through the different answers people will give. I will read the code they had provided, and the description they wrote to explain the solution. I want to make sure this code applies to my issue. Once I think I have a breakthrough, I will get some inspiration from the codes found online and adapt it to my situation. I will do my best not to copy a whole block of code, but just a few lines here and there, depending on what I need.

Retrospect and advice

In conclusion, most developers have been pull-stack developers at least during a small period of time, only the most important thing is not to be anymore. The resources we find online shouldn’t be copied and pasted in our projects, but they should help us understand the language/technology we are using to allow us to learn and evolve in the industry.