Ruby on Rails is a mature technology, and probably that’s why many people say that it’s a dead technology. But it’s not. Fewer developers start new projects with Rails, but hundreds of thousands of applications are in the maintenance mode. This is the reason why the skill of quickly adapting to the legacy code is so essential for you as a Rails developer.
Joining the legacy project is not easy, and the reality might overwhelm you if the documentation is not well-maintained (which is the case in many projects). That’s why I decided to create a list that would help you familiarize the business logic of the legacy application made with Rails.
Thanks to this list, I successfully joined several dozen legacy projects and started effective development from day one. Here is the list.
Look for any documentation
This might be obvious for you, but I worked with too many developers not to know that sometimes we miss something that should be standard.
After you join the project and get access to the source code, it’s good to do the following:
- Look for the README.md file and other files in the markdown format that developers can place in the application’s source code. Files with that format often contain helpful information about the application behavior or the setup instructions.
- Check the wiki pages that are published on the platform where the source code is hosted.
- Ask your team members if they have some “private” documentation or notes about the application that they can share with you.
- Search through the company’s google docs, dropbox paper, or any other place where documents can be stored
In the perfect world, you should receive all the valuable documents during the project’s onboarding process. Still, the reality often is different, so it is good to know what we can do ourselves to collect more information about the application.