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Changing Times For Web Developers – 6 Tips You Should Read To Survive

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The context of this post is about the changing times for a web developer, and I see a lot of web developers still lagging behind especially in the .NET world.  If you haven't yet started mastering your art and adapting to the changing trends, you should start today.

Think about crafting your web applications properly. Use commonsense to mix and match based on scenarios. Here we go with 6 Tips to be a responsible web developer, and to stay on top of what you do.

1 – Learn to write better JavaScript and CSS

If you don’t write proper JavaScript and CSS, you are dead.

Familiarize yourself with a higher level abstraction language to write JavaScript once you are comfortable with plain Javascript – Like CoffeeScript or TypeScript. Also, master the common Javascript libraries, including these essentials

More

Oh yes, start learning TypeScript especially if you have a Microsoft technology/C# background.

On the CSS Side, familiarize with SASS and/or Less –  Skim through the CSS 3 techniques, keep an eye on the CSS 3 features available in various browsers. Understand responsive concepts and start using media queries.

2 – Familiarize yourself with a Responsive Framework

These days, the usage of web is increasing more and more in mobile devices, so most websites are expected to work in different form factors by default. If you don’t want to hand craft all those web pages using media queries, better familiarize yourself with few responsive frameworks.

Responsive web design (often abbreviated to RWD) is an approach to web design in which a site is crafted to provide an optimal viewing experience—easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling—across a wide range of devices (from desktop computer monitors to mobile phones)

My personal choices include Twitter Bootstrap and Zurb’s Foundation. I’ve done quite a lot of work with Bootstrap, and I’m pretty impressed with the capabilities of foundation too. 

Essential reads.

3 – Learn the most useful JavaScript MVC frameworks

Be a first class JavaScript developer. There is a jungle of Javascript MVC frameworks out there for client side development, but familiarize yourself with at least five (Yes, at least 5). I’ll pick some of these to start with.

To compare and contrast them, have a look at TodoMVC – I found it pretty useful. It is

A project which offers the same Todo application implemented using MV* concepts in most of the popular JavaScript MV* frameworks of today.

4 – Understand REST and HTTP

Understand Restful services and master a server side technology to create one. For example, Node Js. If you are in the .NET world, start with Web APIs.  More than that, understand proper REST. Understand Hypermedia. Go beyond the terms, and carve out some examples. Tie your REST services with one of the above MVC frameworks, and create something useful. Use proper HTTP codes for your services.

Essential reads

The above reads should help, to start with. Also, keep an eye on implementations, like Meteor, SignalR etc that could leverage Web Sockets once they are ready.

5 – Understand HTML5 Beyond the Buzzword

HTML5 standard is not yet finalized and is still in progress, but already there is lot of adoption every where. Along with developing websites, there are lot of containers available (like PhoneGap etc) that’ll allow you to package your HTML5 applications with a browser like container for mobile devices (hybrid applications), to distribute them much like you distribute native applications.

HTML5 is a markup language for structuring and presenting content for the World Wide Web and a core technology of the Internet. It is the fifth revision of the HTML standard (created in 1990 and standardized as HTML4 as of 1997)[2] and, as of November 2012, is still under development. Its core aims have been to improve the language with support for the latest multimedia while keeping it easily readable by humans and consistently understood by computers and devices (web browsers, parsers, etc.).

There are lot of good articles about HTML5

Familiarize yourself with the most useful and exciting HTML5 Javascript APIs and features. Like Web Sockets, Application Cache, Canvas API, Vide/Audio features etc. Start using something like HTML5 boiler plate as the baseline. http://www.initializr.com/

Understand the HTML 5 features and value adds you can use.

Also watch for the big players in the space who are leveraging HTML5 as a platform for building cross platform hybrid applications – not for web, but also for desktop and mobile.

6 – Optimize

Optimize what ever you do, optimize when you are ready.

Alright, that was lot of tips. So, happy coding.

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