What Should I Learn for Web Development?

Updated December 11, 2019
back-end front-end web development roadmap

Tips and tricks on how to get good at coding.

When you’re looking into online courses to learn how to code web startups, you want to buy the best, latest, most understandable course for your money! Good online courses can big purchases, so it’s a good idea to take your time and do your homework before you ever put money on the line.

Just like any education investment, some online courses are expected to contain outdated learning material. To keep on top of all these different reasons, you’ll want to look into a web development roadmap. This is especially important if you’re new to the program.

Web development can be tricky when it comes to finding the right programming language to learn. There are a few different reasoning behind this, but fret not! We’ll explore each of them in depth in this article.

What programming language should I learn?

Just as French is the language of love and English is the language of business, each programming language has a purpose and differs from another. Before picking the right language, you’ll have to answer questions like:

  • What kind of websites do you want to work on? (Any websites to model after?)
  • Do you have already know some fundamentals like HTML or CSS and perhaps basic database work?
  • Do you have a background in statistics, logic and math that might help you learn?
  • Do you prefer design-oriented work or database management? Frontend or backend?
  • Do you want to learn a language that is relatively new or one that is established for a while?
  • Are you comfortable learning a lower-level language that has less abstraction?

Every programming language used in the web development world comes in many different shapes and sizes. Regardless of which programming language you choose to learn first, you’ll still need to know about the two main parts of web development--- frontend and backend.

Front-end web development is the part of a website users can see and interact with directly. They often include a mix of images and other web components guided by stylesheets and they are also known as client-side development.

Because front-end part of a web application is ‘physically present’ on almost every kind of site, there’s a lot of artists who find it easier to get started with programming web design work. This however can make it a little tricky when you’re trying to go further and expand to learning back-end at some point in the future.

Before anything else, see if you can start by learning the basics of both front-end and back-end development.

First off, understand that front-end programming languages are things like HTML, CSS, and Javascript. These days, it is not uncommon for front-end web developers to discuss responsive design and so you’ll want to make sure you know typography, grid system, layouts, and color theory. Make sure that you can explain each part well.

You might be wondering...what do front-end developers do all day? They are responsible for a web application’s client-side code and the user experience. In order to be fluent with front-end development, developers must know three main languages—HTML, CSS, and a good understanding of javascript. In addition to those three languages, front-end developers should also be familiar with styling frameworks like Boostrap, AngularJS, Backbone, EmberJS, Materialize, Bulma etc.

If you wish to start with front end development first, it is best to get started with the top frameworks that are trending this year.

What are the top front-end frameworks in 2019 that I can learn?

1. React

While Facebook is known largely as a social networking site, in the developer world, it is also known for React. React is a not a framework, it is a Javascript library but many developers consider it a framework and we usually group it together.

React is highly efficient and flexible, and can easily integrate with other frameworks with minimal issues.

React is a pioneer in creating a component-based architecture which makes dom manipulation run much faster. It became so revolutionary that Angular and Vue as well as other frameworks got onboard and with it.

One of the best features of React is that it is designed to optimize web performance and increase efficiency in web development.

React’s advantages
  • Easy to read codebase – JSX makes it easy to read the code of your React components.
  • React DOM – Virtual DOM helps to update any user’s changes in real time without the other parts’ interference by applying isolated components.
  • Saving time while re-using React components – React deals with isolated components, that’s why you can reuse them anytime you need. System upgrades will not impact or change your system.
  • High stability – React’s stable code’s one-direction data flow ensures a clean data flow architecture and thereby making sure developers have better control over it. In addition, only downward data binding is possible in React.
  • An open-source library where all updates are released to the community.
React’s disadvantages
  • Huge learning curve – requires more time to understand how things work than other frameworks.
  • Outdated manuals – Lack of documentation due to consistent updates to codebase.

2. Vue

Vue.js started as an individual project but quickly grew into becoming one of the most trending Javascript frameworks out there. And while it may not be as popular as React just yet, it is getting there. Vue.js is a progressive framework, allowing developers to adopt your existing Vue project for one portion of another project.

Like React, Vue’s component architecture can be applied for both represented components and full single-page applications. It is also extremely flexible, and developers can easily integrate with different libraries or bigger projects.

Unlike React, Vue has two-way reactive data-binding and does not require any additional libraries. Because of Vue’s lack of name recognition earlier in the game, some developers were wary of using Vue but that’s gradually changing as big names are starting to put money in Vue’s development.

Vue.js’ advantages
  • Size of codebase – This front-end framework has the smallest size of about 18-21KB and provides developers who adopt Vue for their web applications the fastest speeds of all.
  • Extensive documentation – Unlike React’s documentation, you can find all the necessary information needed from Vue.JS’s open-source community who keep its documentation up-to-date and well-written.
  • Flexibility and code reusability – Vue.js makes it easy for developers to write his code in HTML or vanilla Javascript using virtual nodes. As such, developers who tend to code in other languages can easily create components and reuse them again whenever they want, even in the other projects.
  • Browser devtools extensions – As Vue.js requires no additional libraries, you can use your own webbrowser development tools for things like debugging. As a result, you can change separate components manually when it is required, making it less bloated.
Vue's disadvantages
  • Extreme flexibility and openness – As one of the leading frameworks, it is difficult to find fault in Vue although there is certainly the issue of too much flexibility leading to code irregularities. (Some experts have mentioned that the openness where any web front-end engineers can contribute to its development, is causing some irregularities.)
  • Vue specific directives – Compared to other much more flexible frameworks like React, Vue has additional things like Vue directives you’ll have to learn.
  • Size of community – The Vue community is relatively new and constantly improving the framework. It is after all mostly supported by developers but their user community growing fast.

3. Angular

Angular 2 or any version above Angular 2 is another open source JavaScript framework and is a complete rewrite of AngularJS. Developed by the same team from Google, it was created to address the challenges web developers of today face.

Because there was no complete backward compatibility with AngularJS, it caused a huge controversy. Many in the Angular community were extremely unhappy when they weren’t able to just upgrade their application to the new framework-- everything had to be rewritten from scratch again.

Unlike React and Vue, Angular is an all-encompassing framework, and not just a suite of libraries. Because of that, Angular developers can focus more on completing their tasks rather than looking for libraries and solutions for their issues. Angular is created in TypeScript, which is a superset of Javascript and that means, developers get arrow functions, async/await, class syntax and more.

Angular's advantages

Component-based architecture - Such an architecture allows Angular developers to create UI with single parts (components) which can later be reused over and over again. Such re-usability of elements also simplify user testing and maintenance.

TypeScript as a core language - With Typescript being the core language for Angular that does compile to JavaScript, it makes the coding process easier for many engineers.

High flexibility – Angular has quite a number of different ways to do the same things, making development extremely flexibility when dealing with different languages and environments.

Angular's disadvantages

AngularJS 1 is totally different from Angular 2 and above – the difference between AngularJS and Angular 2 or more is enormous, and it makes migrating from version 1 to 2 or 5 or 7 extremely difficult if not impossible.

High complexity – Because Angular in itself is a true framework, it can get difficult to manage the components. For example, developers may find it necessary to have several files for one Angular component and maintain the elements’ lifecycle interfaces at the same time.

Learning difficulty – Those new to Angular will find it hard to learn Angular. There are many things like components, modules, dependency injection, and many more. Some things in their documentation is poorly described and it does take a while for the developer to find out more about things like CLI.

What backend language should I learn for 2019?

If you’re done mastering the fundamentals of front-end development or would like to get started with back-end technologies first, this section is for you.

When we talk about back-end web development, we talk about a lot of things. There’s databases, programming languages, content delivery networks, cache and more. And what is the best way to learn about back-end web development?

There is a saying from Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella: “information technology is at the core of how you do your business and how your business model itself evolves.”

At the end of the day, it all depends on your business model or project goals but if you’re just starting out, it may be a good idea to learn the trending technologies, because when you’re out there looking for a job or building the next big thing, chances are, you’re going to want your applications running faster and more efficiently than your competitors.

Back-end development is the other side of web development. Back-end developers are involved in creating the actual logic that powers a web application. You should be able to incorporate the front-end part to the back-end and have an in-depth knowledge of the back-end programming framework, security compliance, and the knowledge to deploy and manage a hosting environment.

To get you up to speed with backend development here are the essential back-end development tools you will have to master.

1. Frameworks & languages

Like front-end web development, there is a number of programming frameworks and languages involved. Frameworks are libraries of pre-written code that is designed so that a back-end developer can develop the web services, services and APIs. A programming language, on the other hand, is a superset of scripting languages like PHP, Python, Ruby, Java, Node.js, Perl, and Erlang.

2. Database management systems

If you haven't already, a database management system (DBMS) is a collection of programs which enables its users to access a database, manipulate, interpret and represent data. These are things that make up the part which collects and manages data. An example of one is MySQL. MySQL is a very popular open source fast relational database that is not only freely available at no cost, it is also easy to setup.

3. Web servers

Web servers are computer programs that process and deliver dynamic web content to visitors. The most popular ones are Apache, an open-source cross-platform web server and NGINX is a web server that performs reverse proxying, load balancing, caching, and media streaming processes.

4. Local development environment

A local development environment is an environment all good back-end developers will have to use. The key to using a local development environment that’s visible only to you is because it gives you the freedom to experiment what code work and what doesn't before your web application is deployed and live. For PHP developers, XAMPP and WampServer are examples of open source windows development environments that allow developers to test their web applications with Apache, PHP, and a MySQL database. Making changes to the codebase on a local environment and seeing the update, allow developers to prevent their live site from crashing due to bad code.

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