What makes a web app successful? The development process and the realities of real-world coding.
You’ve probably seen or heard a lot of stories about a businesses’ web project (or projects in general) failing. Heck, if you’re a freelancer chances are you’ve witnessed it firsthand! It’s a more common occurrence than you think, especially with small businesses. “…You do all kinds of work, you put out a beautiful website or you put out a beautiful web app, and then you link to it in your portfolio from your own website, and the next thing you know -bing, bing, boom- the client instead of calling you up to try and make updates, they try to tweak it themselves of they hire their kid; they get the kid to come in there and they try to fix it and they mess it up, and in a short period of time the site looks terrible.”
So why does this happen? Well, believe it or not, it doesn’t come from a purely bad place in terms of the intention. That is to say, your client isn’t trying to ‘F#%$’ you or your work, or your livelihood for that matter. It actually (for the most part) comes from a place of ignorance: they just don’t know…anything, really…including how much it actually costs. “A lot of people who jump into the game of building a website or building a web app -any app- they don’t really realize how much work it really is to refine the product, to get it to the point where it’s really ready for market.”
Sound familiar? Here are some pitfalls that have unfortunately cut down many a project in the prime of their lives (and some even before that).
Versions and Iterations: Microsoft has Windows10, so what happened to windows 1-9? Yup, they were previous versions that were replaced by (theoretically, arguably, etc.) newer, better, faster versions. Products and projects must evolve or improve (bugs, glitches, etc.), or the user will simply not want to use it and go somewhere else. Which brings us to our next point
UI and UX: Now depending on the company or client you work for, they might like to lump these two things together but trust us, they are two very different things. UI (user interface) is pretty much the look of things what the user sees: colors, designs, fonts, formatting -the eye candy, so to speak. But UX (user experience) is how easy it is to use, and that is the real draw to a product or project. You could have the most appealing, eye-catching, awe-inspiring design, but if you can use it: if it’s clunky, takes forever to load, or your users just have no idea how to start or where to go to get what they need, it’s useless.
Poor Budget Planning: This last one is almost always the case (especially with getting the ‘kid’ in to do your work). “When a lot of small business owners realize they’re gonna have to invest much more into the project, a lot of them will drop the project in that point in time. I’ve had clients who spend fifty grand, 100 grand on a project, they get it out there and it’s starting to get some traction but they’re not willing to put more into it, so the system kind of sleeps and slowly fades and dies away.”
And on that positive note, check out the VLOG!! It goes into way more detail on these points and uses clear cut examples like MySpace, and Google, and StudioWeb! There’s also a mention of how to bill small companies for your time in case a project does go down in flames, you won’t go into bankruptcy. Speaking of UI and UX, check out our online courses [links below…shameless promo, I know…], as a great example and who knows, ya might even learn something…
Getting into game programming with C# or C++ and talking about the realities…
So, should you learn C++ and C# to get into game programming? Well, as we’ve explained many times on this BLOG and the VLOG, “learning programming and how to code, regardless of the language, makes no difference really in the end, because if you learn language “A” and you realize there no jobs there, you have the opportunity to quickly and easily go to language “B”, “C”, “D”, or “E” -it isn’t a big deal. The only time you shouldn’t be concentrating on a programming language of course, is RUBY…” <BOOM!!> RUBY joke [gotta have at least one, where we can]. “…yeah, even RUBY, there’s lots of work out there for RUBY developers: Rails. And even if you end up not using RUBY, you’ll probably end up learning Python, and knowing RUBY will make learning Python pretty easy.”
But with that out of the way, let’s talk about ‘fun’ and what is ‘perceived as fun‘. “Any industry -any type of job that people perceive as fun- it will drive up competition -because a lot more people are going to be involved, and then employers know that it’s perceived as fun, so they’re going to be able to adjust their work environment -meaning it could be tougher and lower to pay- this is not uncommon, it’s not just with programming, it’s with any industry. If you look at the film industry for example: actors will be in there 10 hour days, 18 hour days and unless you’re a star you’re not making anything -it could be rough. On the flip side, you look at professions like plumber, which is perceived as ‘dirty work‘, because it’s not perceived as glamorous and fun plumbers make a ton of money.” If you don’t believe us (the game industry thing, not the plumbing), google ‘EA workers’, or even just general ‘video game industry workers horror stories’. We’re not trying to steer you away from the video game industry, far from it (someone is going to need to make Borderlands 10: the border-lands-ening, and it’s not going to be me), but like anything else, do your research and ask yourself if this is what you really want to get into. The extreme stories are not the norm by any stretch, but they’re not far off and you should prepare yourself for their eventuality…
The VLOG is worth a little ‘eye validation’, and there’s some sweet MTL scenery at the end. Whatever your dream, keep it alive but don’t get taken advantage of for having it! -Enjoy!
How will a web developers job change over the next five years?
First off, If you’re a dev, a programmer, employed or freelance, or someone who generally doesn’t get to see the ‘light of day’ (or is a shut-in), you’re welcome… We are out and about today!! Also, if you were in the mood for Dim Sum and talked yourself out of it…sorry.
Today we’re contemplating how the web-stack will change over the next 5 years. What devs and programmers should expect in terms of changes to their jobs, and delicious Dim Sum…sorry, I’m really hungry now…
Web Frameworks: Re: front-end frameworks, “…that’s more difficult to predict because web frameworks are more volatile. …My best guess -barring any new framework coming into the game/ some new disruptive technology- …I think you’re going to see React and Vue are going to be the dominant players, followed by Angular (but you can’t lose with any of them). This is a prime exmaple of why I always tell people to learn your fundamentals: frameworks change, libraries change, but the fundamentals don’t change.”
Complexities of Web Development: “Another thing you’re going to see …is the move more and more to the server. You’re seeing more and more sophisticated server tools that are pretty mind-blowing (from an old nerd’s prospective), [for example] virtualized database management: …instead of having to worry about charting your database and database optimizations, the advanced hosting companies -they provide that for you. They take care of that; scaling, auto-backups, all this kind of stuff that normally you would have to do yourself -you’d have to work it into the development cycle- not anymore! And you’re going to see more and more of this offloading of complexity in terms of application design and architecture…onto sophisticated hosting solutions. …So that’s another you’re going to see, that obfuscation of the complexity -and that’s a good thing.”
Closing Thoughts: “I think it’s going to shift from day to day ‘nuts and bolts’ type of coding, and going to go more towards architectural. Now what people use is a content management system; the most popular being WordPress. Which has given rise to the ‘WordPress Professional’, …[they] know how to install, configure WordPress, know the environment -the ecosystem around WordPress: know what the good themes are, the bad themes, the good plugins, the bad plugins, how to install and debug, how to lockdown and secure WordPress -there’s a whole skill set. Now you don’t necessarily need to be a coder, but having coding skills does help…and you can’t discount these type of skills… It’s very little about code but you gotta really know your stuff. …And this is a trend that been going on for awhile; this move away from nuts and bolts’ coding, to being someone who leverages different libraries and frameworks and understands how to use them/when to use them, and what circumstances to use them.”
So there you have it. The VLOG really goes into a much deeper and detailed dive, you should check it out. Also, speaking of fundamentals -SHAMELESSS PROMO- check out our links (below) to various courses we offer, particularly web development. It’s super effective. As for your job; it doesn’t mean coding is going to go away, just that there will be a shift. Again, know your fundamentals and you can’t go wrong. “A little less code, a little more architecture…and Dim Sum…always leave room for Dim Sum…so hungry!!! -Enjoy!
When do static site generators like Next.js, Gatsby and Hugo makes sense over more common dynamic web apps, like WordPress and Joomla?
There was once a time before content management systems (CMS) like WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal when static site generators (SSG) were used, and this is way before the web became ‘dynamic’ …and Gandalf was just a young nerd, still messing around in wizard school -catch all new episodes of ‘you shall not CLASS’, Wednesdays at 8pm.
You can google SSG vs. CMS for more information but essentially…
Static site generators like Hugo, Gatsby, and Next.js to name a few, “…work by pre-creating all the pages in that site, so that when the pages are loaded they are actually just normal HTML pages rather than pages created on the fly like what you see with WordPress, Drupal, or Joomla”. The advantages include less server resources vs. on-the-fly created pages on CMS and better security because only system Admins can generate pages.
Content management systems like WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal, “generate their pages on the fly, these are what we used to call ‘dynamic’ web pages”. So, when you call up an article, the CMS generates the page on-the-fly. Now, technically this is a huge drain on the server but with servers becoming more and more popular, it’s negligible and as far as security, we would say the sites like WordPress are pretty safe.
The VLOG goes into real comparisons and the nitty-gritty of SSG vs. CMS, complete with PROs and CONs, it’s really worth checking out. Also, if you find this really interesting, you should check out our web stack course (Links below). -Enjoy!
Wix is another tool that web designers can use to build out simple client websites and for some client websites, using Wix just makes sense.
When it comes to building websites for clients most devs will turn to CMS giant WordPress but there are other less complicated web-builders out there like Wix, SquareSpace, Weebly, etc. that generally let you create websites easily at the cost of versatility. And that’s not altogether a bad thing, depending on what the client’s needs are.
And from these sites that offer simplicity and ease have risen freelancers in their own right. “If you look at Wix today or shopify…even though they’re much easier to use than, let’s say building from scratch: using a template or something, it’s still something that many small business owners don’t want to tackle. …In terms of freelance work, I call it becoming a web professional. A web professional is not necessarily somebody who is a developer (although they could be), …[It’s] somebody who knows how to put up websites, knows the different options; knows how to build from scratch, …you understand when those types of builders make sense, …hosting options, …domain names …this is what a web professional brings to the table.”
Don’t call Wix and the other builders a niche – I’ve been here for years, rockin’ my peers, puttin’ others in fear…okay seriously though, “…because it’s such a huge demand, this type of freelancer is gonna make a lot of money because there’s so many small businesses out there who are positioned on the web in some form or another and they don’t have all this knowledge, they don’t understand the differences between these different platforms and they’re probably not aware of most of these platforms…”
So should you consider using Wix, shopify, etc when choosing how to service client(s) demands over WordPress? “So your job as a consultant/web professional is to direct them in the right direction. Shopify, Wix, SquareSpace, etc. they’re not competition, they’re not taking away from web design and development, they are just tools in your toolbox. …Go in there first [and] talk to your client: see what their needs are and then you as a web professional can determine whether or not the Wix platform can support that.” As previously mentioned, “the thing about these web builders… they’re typically limited: the simplification comes at the cost of flexibility. …When you simplify you usually remove options that you have on the table. So you have to determine whether you need those options or not; maybe you don’t/maybe you do…”. Hey, we never said it was gonna be easy…
The VLOG goes into a way better explanation, you should check it out. And maybe while you’re at it <shameless promo> check out the really cool and thoughtfully put together courses that we offer. Whether is freelancing, or learning web development, you’ll be taking advantage of almost 3 decades of experience in all these subjects AND if you click here, you can take advantage of a super deal! We’ve teamed up with InMotion hosting for a really amazing offer where they essentially pay for you to take my course and learn how to become a web developer. Links to all these offers are below as well. -Enjoy!
WordPress is the most popular CMS in the world and they just released a new major update.
With over 30% of the world’s websites running on WordPress and something akin to 80% of small businesses, it’s safe to say that this content management system (CMS) is a pretty big deal. Which also makes it a huge opportunity for freelancers to become ‘WordPress professionals’ – someone who provides services on the site to those businesses.
WordPress recently released version 5.2, named “Jaco” in honor of renowned and revolutionary jazz bassist Jaco Pastorius, and it’s available for download or update in your WordPress dashboard. For those of you not familiar with the CMS giant – TaDa! – and for those of you that just wanna check it out for yourself –Abracadabra!– but we’ll be looking at a couple key/cool updates. Full disclosure, we use WordPress…why? “Because dealing with the headaches of creating your own CMS or your own sites…”, it’s just easier with WordPress.
–PHP Error Detection: You’ll be able to fix fatal errors – like the white screen of death – without requiring ‘developer time’. Also, if your plug-ins and themes go haywire, there’s a recovery mode that you can enter into.
–Accessibility Updates: If you’re using a screen reader of other accessibility technologies, there’s a more seamless integration and more “contextual awareness and keyboard navigation flow”.
–Heads up: *If you are running an old version of PHP (less than 5.6.20), update your PHP before installing 5.2.
Of course, please check out the link above for a list of all things new and shiny, not to mention the VLOG for a more robust pass at this new version. On a side note click here for a really cool offer. We’ve teamed up with InMotion hosting and they’re essentially going to pay for you to take my course and learn how to become a web developer. Links to the offer and my courses are down below. -Enjoy!
…and other wide-ranging subjects in this ‘car-talk’ vlog…
Alright, usually there’s an intro and then we maybe make a joke about something (mostly RUBY) and then we go into the subject matter, but this time I’m really going to recommend you just watch the VLOG. We jump from subject to subject with no real connective tissue to any of them, including a shoot-from-hip review of “Avengers: Endgame” and a chat about our lizard brain… I mean, it’s super fun and you’re gonna have a good time, but from a writing standpoint, it’s like herding kittens: cute and cuddly but hard to pin down…
One major cool piece of news: We’re going to be offering certifications for our courses very soon; it’s in the works. Not only do you get the benefit of all that knowledge and experience after completing our programming courses, but now you have a piece of paper for those sticklers that demand physical proof -take that, suckas!
Really, just check out the VLOG, maybe have a cuppa coffee and sit back and feel that smile just slowly make its way up… -Enjoy!
Selling online is really the future of selling; no question. So, is getting into a niche eCommerce business the way to go?
Niches historically have their highs and lows, depending on subject matter. A niche band that your buddy introduced you to might be music to your ears, but perhaps that band isn’t making a lot of money at shows because only a hand full of people who really appreciate what they do turn out…
On the other hand, finding a niche in eCommerce that you can fill would be a good thing. “Niche is the key to success, because if it’s not niche then you’re going to be competing with a lot of big players (possibly), meaning bigger companies or you’re just gonna have a lot of competition.” This is gonna be a shameless plug, but we go into this in better detail in our ‘Complete Entrepreneur’ course that we offer (link below).
“…If you want to get into business go into niche or you go into an industry where there’s just a huge amount of demand that the demand outstrips the supply.” One of the reasons we recommend finding a niche on the web to fill, whether it be eCommerce, WordPress, etc. is that you don’t necessarily have to go to school to be able to jump in. We’re talk about 3-5 years of schooling here… for example, you don’t have to get a data science degree, or a software engineering degree. You can simply take a course…like the ones we offer…nudge, nudge, wink, wink… and be able to jump right in, get your experience, grow your reputation and make your living.
VLOG your face off and check out more in-depth reasons to find a niche market to go into and stick around til the end (or just jump to the end), to see Montreal in the winter…just in case you’ve had enough of this wonderful July heat and forgot about what comes next… -Enjoy!
What kind of highly complex and crazy work will you be doing? The answer may surprise you…
So what is the most common web developer job that is going to be out there in 2019? Are you gonna be building the next FACEBOOK from NODEjs or the next WordPress.com with PHP? The short answer is…maybe, but probably not…
“The most likely situation is you’re going to be working with small to medium sized businesses. Web developers will be building wordpress-based sites with custom mini apps, perhaps. You might be modifying shopify sites and deploying those for people.” Not as glamorous as you thought, is it? Well, it’s the truth…
Think of your standard web developer “…like a GP in the medical [professional]. You got medical doctors that are general practitioners, they don’t specialize in brain surgery, which would be kind of the equivalent of a NODEjs master or a PHP-Laravel master. The most common doctor out there is the GP (general practitioner): someone who takes care of most people’s medical needs. That is what a web professional is, you might do a Paypal integration, another day you might do a WordPress theme customizer…this is where a lot of the professional web-based jobs are gonna be.”
Don’t get us wrong, there’ going to be plenty of work building highly complex apps from scratch, “… but at the end of the day for every advanced app that’s built with NODEjs, there’s going to be five hundred, maybe thousands of jobs where you’re going to modify and build up a WordPress-based site, or work on a Shopify site for somebody.”
The VLOG really does this subject justice, including an answer to the common question of money. Specifically why does the NODEjs master make as much as the common web developer who’s just modifying Shopify or WordPress, etc. and it’s a good answer. -Enjoy!
So you’re a wordpress ‘dabbler’, maybe you use HTML or CSS to install plugins or themes? Maybe you do a little work for people and make a little bit of cash? …Maybe you realize you can make a lot more money if you knew more.
Check out the VLOG for some more detailed responses to this question and if you’re really interested, we offer a kick-ass course where you can become a complete web developer fast. You would be given the tools to learn and to use most programming languages (PHP included) with speed and efficacy <link at the bottom>. -Enjoy