Articles

  |  Thor Galle

Laying foundations for web projects

Published on January 1, 2018

One of my goals in the last years has been to get a better understanding of web technologies, so I can use them creatively.

I'm happy that I have been able to do some fundamental learning already:

  • Basic HTML and CSS, self-taught via Codecademy, Shay Howe's nice tutorials, and a trusty web inspector tool.

  • PHP & SQL basics, by working on a project for a Databases course in university.

  • Some Javascript & jQuery, by poking around on Mozilla MDN & Codecademy.

  • Frameworks like Bootstrap and Pure CSS, the Twig templating engine, while working on sites like this one.

Now I want to take it a step further: I have a (simple) web app idea that I'd like to realize. To use it myself, but also to gain experience making it.

This leads to a lot of initial choices. What back-end language or framework to use? What database type? ...

Instead of diving in head-first, I considered the options. On one side, tried and widely used technologies (PHP, SQL, ...) are important, because they make up most of the present web stack. On the other hand, it's interesting to try newer, innovative technologies. After all, they are the building blocks of the future, and I see them in high demand around in local technology startups.

For this project, I've chosen to invest my time in learning the MEAN stack for web apps. This is an alternative to the more traditional *AMP web stacks (Apache, MySQL, PHP), with considerable differences.

MEAN: MongoDB for the database back end, Express.js for ..., Angular.js on the client side and Node.js for the server runtime... all related to Javascript! This is nice, because it offers a uniform language to work on web project, both on the client and the server side.

One problem though, my Javascript knowledge can improve at the moment.

My plan to prepare for my web project is roughly:

  • Sharpening my Javascript skills by going through the book Eloquent JS.

  • Following a relatively specialized edX course on making a MEAN app.

  • Familiarize myself further with the components where necessary, using additional web resources and documentation.

I've already read an introduction to MongoDB and followed the first chapter of the edX course. It definitely seems interesting!

In the next Learning Portfolio post I'll report how the learning fares, and I'll introduce my mysterious little project idea briefly.


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