When browsing various resources and books on how to start your journey as a web app developer, you might get confused and even lost in a huge flow of data. In this article, we’d like to focus on how to start web app development in 5 simple steps. So, there are five tips to make your learning curve and practice smooth:
5 Important Web Application Development Tips for Beginners
1. Learn the ropes
‘Give me six hours to chop down the tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.’ Before plunging yourself into web app development, get a clear idea of the key frameworks and tools used for it. The most popular web development frameworks and tools are Laravel, Ruby on Rails, Spring, ASP.NET, Vue.js, Angular.js, React.js. All of them can be divided into two categories: front-end and back-end.
The most widely used front-end frameworks and libraries are Vue.js, React.js, or Angular.
For backend development, such frameworks and tools are used: PHP, Ruby on Rails, Python, Java, etc.
Choosing the right language, framework or tool can greatly influence further web development processes. To learn how to choose the right language for web app development read here.
2. Choose the direction
The whole web development process can be divided into 2 parts: front-end development and back-end development. What is the difference? You can learn here.
Front-end developers are making user-friendly web interfaces with the help of HTML and CSS. HTML is a markup language designed to shape the page layout and the elements of the page. It has piles of benefits and is considered to be a pillar of a page building.
While HTML is about structure, CSS provides a visual layout. CSS unleashes great accessibility, control, faster downloading time, and more.
Among other popular front-end frameworks are React.js, Angular, Vue.js, Ember.js, jQuery.
The application, the server, and the database are the components of the back-end development. A back-end developer is in charge of server-side web app logic and the integration with the front-end. Traditionally, such languages as Java, Ruby, Node.js, .NET, Python, and PHP are the commonly used ones. Java and Python could be a good start for a beginning developer.
There’s also the option of being a full-stack developer spanning both front-end and back-end development. Exploring multiple languages and technologies is no harm, but try not to have it all immediately and choose wisely.
3. Top resources for web development
Below is the list of useful resources that might be required at different phases of the web development process.
- UI Design Tools like Figma or Invision
- Version Control like Github
- IDE for web development — NetBeans, Atom, WebStorm, etc.
- Web development methodology – Waterfall, Agile, Scrum, Lean.
- Databases: MySQL, MongoDB, Redis, etc.
- Project Management & collaboration tools: Jira, Asana, Trello, Slack.
4. Go for Self-Education and Stay Tuned
Keep track of UI/UXs trends. Search for free open-source resources. Follow the latest trends and features sensibly and try to apply them to your projects. Read and analyze the code of other web developers.
Read topic-related books (for getting the basic idea and utilizing more obscure functions further): once it’s about Java, start with “Java: The Complete Reference” by H. Schildt or when it’s PHP, make “PHP 5/MySQL Programming” your first developer’s bible. Though books are important, the best way still is just to start writing code and to learn how to navigate the manuals.
Always Have A Clear Requirements Specification
Before starting any development work it is essential to get a clear picture of what the customer expects in the end. This can be achieved only if you have a very detailed SRS (software requirements specification) usually provided by the customer. Otherwise, you might get in the situation when most of the work is done but the customer claims it is not what he expected. This might lead to a great loss of time and effort and as a result unsatisfied customers and a bad review of your work. A documented specification might help both parties avoid misunderstandings and get the maximum from cooperation. If the customer has no specification, ask him to turn to an experienced agency or consulting company with enough expertise in the field.
5. Promote Yourself
Once you start generating a lovely functional code, you’d like to share it. Some people talk about SourceForge or GitHub as “the new resumes.” After having uploaded your code to such code repositories, keep reporting on the fresh and smart hacks that help your code to improve. Make sure the code samples provide good documentation and architecture.
Create a good portfolio, uniting all your projects and skills. Include the open-source apps, client projects if there are any. Also, you can start picking up some ideas for your resume from the very beginning to be prepared for future offers.
As a beginning web developer, you’ll have a thorny yet rewarding path ahead. No matter the heights you’d like to climb, there’s no magic pill but time and experience. Find out which learning methods are best for you and what knowledge you need to gain above all.
Bear in mind that watching a video or reading a tutorial won’t make you an expert, building real websites is inevitable. Spot and analyze the mistakes you make whilst writing the code and reduce “notices”. Nailing down the clear code’s philosophy will help to write the better code — the one easy to comprehend and contain fewer errors.