Leverage Built-in Features: A Lesson in Simplicity

As developers, we often find ourselves tasked with implementing complex features and functionalities. In such scenarios, it’s natural to gravitate towards intricate solutions, leveraging advanced patterns and libraries. However, a recent experience reminded me of a valuable lesson: sometimes, the simplest approach is the most effective.

The Requirement

Over the past few months, I’ve been working extensively with the DataTable component from the PrimeVue component library. Despite my familiarity with the component, a recent requirement challenged me to think outside the box.

My team’s product owner tasked me with creating a DataTable that maintained its filters and state upon navigating to and from another page. Initially, my mind jumped to implementing a global store or another state management system – a common approach in such scenarios.

The Aha Moment

However, a key takeaway from this experience is this: Always check the documentation.

I had read the DataTable component’s documentation numerous times, but I decided to revisit it, just in case there were built-in features that could simplify the implementation. And sure enough, my hunch proved correct.

The documentation contained a dedicated section on Stateful tables, which provided a straightforward solution to my problem. By adding the stateStorage and stateKey properties to the DataTable component, I could achieve the desired functionality with minimal effort:

<DataTable stateStorage="session" stateKey="example-stateful-table" …rest> … </DataTable>

With just two additional lines of code, the task was accomplished seamlessly.

Choosing the Right Path

This solution was particularly appealing to my team for several reasons. First, we had yet to implement a global state management system, and the team comprised developers relatively new to web development. Second, as I was in the process of rolling off the project, introducing a complex pattern and teaching the team to maintain it effectively would have been a significant undertaking.

Instead, I opted for an easy and maintainable solution that catered to the team’s current knowledge and comfort level. It’s crucial to consider these factors when contemplating introducing new patterns or technologies to a shared codebase.

Key Takeaways

  • Consider the trade-offs. There may be valid reasons to pursue a more comprehensive approach, but our industry is a game of trade-offs. Maintainability, modularity, complexity, and time are all important considerations to make.
  • Check the documentation. As experienced developers, we often rely on intuition and past experiences. However, taking a moment to revisit the documentation can sometimes reveal simpler solutions tailored to our specific needs, saving us valuable time and effort.

By embracing simplicity and leveraging built-in features, we can often achieve our goals with minimal complexity, ensuring a more maintainable and efficient codebase.


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