How do you deal with making sure your use of new technology is correct and free from code-smells, security issues, etc.?
As a freelancer or otherwise independent developer learning new technology and studying alone and online, how do you deal with making sure your use of new technology is correct and free from code-smells, security issues, etc. while you are coming up?
Issues can be dealt with in several ways.
Understanding what makes high-quality, maintainable code would be first, so knowledge of best practices regarding OOP, SOLID, design patterns, API design, etc. is important. Depending on what you mean by security, best practices in those regarding transfer protocols, coding styles, validation, storage, etc. are equally something one can learn.
Planning your work is useful, as a well thought out design is easier to implement, or at least will avoid future problems, than when you are just 'winging it'. Diagramming and project plans can be useful at this stage. Self-management is part of this, so using boards and epic/stories/tasks to track work is important, and there are free tools like Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS) or Trello to help.
Requirements gathering will matter, so documentation and communication with users and/or clients will make a huge difference. Also, usability matters, so both understanding how to build code for others, whether it is a UI or an API will be important, to keep your clients happy and to avoid rework. With a UI, mockups can be useful, so using Balsamiq or Viso to put together the basics can be a starting point for discussing with users.
It would depend on your code stack. I work primarily in the Microsoft stack, so there are maintenance tools built into Visual Studio (VS) to check for code quality/maintainability and for code clones. Purchasing licenses for products like ReSharper can help. As part of the automated build process, VSTS has components for testing, code quality (Resharper), and build quality, executed on check-in
Independent of the stack, using TDD or unit tests are important, besides saving you time and effort. As an independent, it's tough to work in pairs, but code review can be useful, so enlisting someone to review your work can help.