Tiffany R. White Blog

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Recognizing Patterns

2019-09-20 Tiffany WhiteFundamentals

1

Hey y’all. Been a while. It has been super crazy as I am moving in literally one week and consulting is a craziness unto itself. I’ve also broken the chain of posting at least once a month for 4 years but hey. I have a good reason to have missed. 😜

One of the things I am learning while working is how to recognize patterns.

Pattern recognition is a skill

I have terrible pattern recognition abilities1. This was a thing that stood out on the I.Q. tests I’ve taken by psychologists, once in my teens, and the other just recently.

This industry is based on pattern recognition. It is vital to your survival as a dev. If you can’t recognize patterns in your code, then you won’t succeed. At all.

Luckily, mostly everything you write is some type of pattern.

Take a look at this:

const arr = [1,2,3,4,5]
for (let i = 0; i < arr.length; i++) {
  console.log(arr[i]);
}

Basically, we’re just taking the arr array and iterating over it with a for loop and logging the index to the console. You see this everywhere, in every language based on C or some variant of C. It’s a design pattern called, you guessed it, the Iterator Design Pattern.

It took me an absurdly long time to recognize this is what a pattern is. Once I learned what these patterns looked like, I started noticing them everywhere.

Object Creator Pattern

You know how to create objects: the object literal, constructor, and the class. The way you instantiate each of these is a pattern.

// Object literal

const myObj = {
  // some props
}

// constructor function

function MyObject() {
  this.someProp = someProp;
  this.someOtherProp = someOtherProp;
}

const anotherObject = new MyObject();

// class

class newObject {
  constructor(x, y) {
    this.x = x;
    this.y = y;
  }
}

See? If you know how to do anything like this, some sort of standard way of crafting code that you see repeated over and over, most likely it is a pattern2.


  1. The longer I do this though, the better I am getting.

  2. Design patterns have to be standardized by a body of computer scientists/theorists/technicians and can’t just be created by any old dev.

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Tiffany R. White Blog

Tiffany White, frontend engineer at ICF by day, cat herder by night. I like React, JavaScript, and tinkering with smart home tech.