The journeyman learns to solve bigger problems by solving more problems at once. The master learns to solve even bigger problems than that by solving fewer problems at once.
Spend 80% of your time on low-risk/reasonable-payoff work. Spend 15% of your time on related high-risk/high-payoff work. Spend 5% of your time on things that tickle you, regardless of payoff. Teach the next generation to do your 80% job. By the time someone is ready to take over, one of your 15% experiments (or, less frequently, one of your 5% experiments) will have paid off and will become your new 80%. Repeat.
Intent is both one of the most difficult-to-describe, yet most critical, aspects to the maintainability of good software. The more intent we can show in our code, the more quickly newer developers (and developers who haven’t been inside a codebase for awhile) can gain confidence in working with an older system.
Finally, when we write strict code, we use more of the capabilities of the coding language or framework—all of the good, relied-upon stuff that’s been well-tested and built into our compilers and database engines for years. Essentially, we get a lot of free quality assurance the more you apply strictness into your code.
I wrote a piece on the VaultPress blog recently about some basic security practices plugin developers should know and include in their own plugins.
This sums up my beliefs on being a plugin/theme developer:
Writing plugins for WordPress gives us so much freedom and flexibility on the platform and with this ability comes a responsibility to the community; a responsibility to develop secure plugins that the community can trust and use on their websites. And by doing so, we are making the web a better place.