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Thread: Web Development is Insane!

  1. #1
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    Web Development is Insane!

    So, been doing this stuff for 16 years now. Watching some videos and reading on upcoming web enhancements for the web. Some of the biggest are the HTML 5 specification updates with OpenGL and canvas support along with ECMASCRIPT 5 making its way to the forefront.

    Also saw a jQuery plugin for mobile devices which was pretty cool. Problem I am facing is, what to do next? From Javascript, jQuery,Prototype, extJS to PHP to Ruby On Rails while encountering some XML, JSON, and XSLT on the way, and being laden with HTML to produce pages, working with CSS to display them and dealing with browsers (IE6,7,8,Safari, Webkit, Firefox, Opera, Mobile) not to mention the design element and interactive AJAX approaches - I am just full of more information than I know what to do with!

    I surely can't be expected to use all of these technologies at one time to deliver solutions. I certainly can but that is a crapload of work. Trying to find a focus nowadays is literally impossible and the market still expects developers to know "everything" AND MORE for mediocre paying jobs.

    The expectation for web developers is so high nowadays and even after 16 years, I am getting overwhelmed with the ever changing technology, mediums to deliver solutions and backend languages + frameworks to support them. So tack on extra knowledge like MVC frameworks such as Zend, Codeigniter, Cake PHP and Kohana. Pair those solutions with databases like MySQL, SQL Lite, Oracle or CouchDB.

    Link all that together through a webserver like Apache, IIS, Tomcat, WebBrick or others. What do you have?

    You have an out-of-control environment where every new application is an exercise in learning and futility. Funny thing is, the end result is normally the same, "deliver content to the end user and make it look pretty".

    If you aren't already intimidated by the many technologies here, don't forget to include the processes for setting up webservers, registering domains, managing DNS, creating email accounts and providing analytical support. These are all "normal" expectations of a modern website/application.

    And then, with your degree and extensive experience, expect your client to only want to pay you $20 per hour do do any of that.

    (You know trash men make an average salary of $38k in the Washington DC Area?)
    Bitter web veteran

  2. #2
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    What a lot of people tend to overlook, though, is that you can create a webpage that would be valid HTML 2.0 save for a few <meta> and <link> tags, and have a perfectly fine webpage. It's the reason this rush of technology doesn't worry me.

  3. #3
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    That's an interesting observation, and something which I think about constantly. If you work in an ever-changing field, you will need to keep up with the trends. What I've noticed about our field is that the technology changes, but foundations usually remain the same.

    It seems that many people want to underpay web developers, and those are the ones who usually know a little about the subject. Many people overpay, and they are usually the ones who know nothing or are at the same level as you. I've looked at the average salary for web development (on salary.com, I think). It's not great, but that is probably because most web jobs are working for someone at a company. There are other web jobs out there, some which involve research, some which involve using one particular coding language, and some where you can focus on a certain aspect of the development cycle.

    Another problem now is that any idiot can build a website with the right tools and some time on their hands. This is good because people are building their sites, but bad because they are usually of low quality and may make it seem like web development is easy.

    Is it easy? Well, usually no. We seem to take on challenges that aren't easy all the time. For example, if we struggle with HTML, then HTML is hard. As soon as that is mastered, we may attempt JavaScript, which is hard, until we get a handle on that. We advance to the level of frustration.

    Web development can be a great field if you know what specifically to do and how to get in the part you want.

    Also, another thing I noticed that puts pressure on us is the client's need to use new technologies. If they say "let's make a photo gallery using jQuery and AJAX", the developer may say "this can be done with JavaScript". Still, if the client wants you to use the languages, then you need to go out and learn them.

  4. #4
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    The most recent challenge I embarked upon is actually an outdated framework called Apache Cocoon http://cocoon.apache.org/. The place I reside started using it several years ago. It is a Java based XSLT framework where the HTML is embedded in the XSL; total nightmare.

    We grab static content from XML, include and transform it using Xalan and spit it to the browser. It is by far, the most inefficient system I have ever used.

    This is unfortunately the case with a lot of work places. Places that have adopted a "new" technology for the time which later grows out of control and out of support.

    New technologies arise claiming to be the "next best thing" and since it all moves so quickly, nobody becomes an expert anymore. We all become hackers at best just trying to keep up with what the industry believes is "cool". Cool doesn't always mean it's the right tool for the job.
    Bitter web veteran

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Webnerd View Post
    The most recent challenge I embarked upon is actually an outdated framework called Apache Cocoon http://cocoon.apache.org/. The place I reside started using it several years ago. It is a Java based XSLT framework where the HTML is embedded in the XSL; total nightmare.

    We grab static content from XML, include and transform it using Xalan and spit it to the browser. It is by far, the most inefficient system I have ever used.

    This is unfortunately the case with a lot of work places. Places that have adopted a "new" technology for the time which later grows out of control and out of support.

    New technologies arise claiming to be the "next best thing" and since it all moves so quickly, nobody becomes an expert anymore. We all become hackers at best just trying to keep up with what the industry believes is "cool". Cool doesn't always mean it's the right tool for the job.
    LOL. I can relate. I'm dealing with a 1999 version of a CMS tool that had a bunch of custom hacks put in place over the years at work currently. I really think sometimes it isn't worth the effort to keep it running and we should just scrap it and start over.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Webnerd View Post
    Cool doesn't always mean it's the right tool for the job.
    That's true, webnerd.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by criterion9 View Post
    I really think sometimes it isn't worth the effort to keep it running and we should just scrap it and start over.
    It seems that it almost always isn't. Changing over to a new technology will save a lot of trouble. Even if you keep a system running, it will become harder and harder to maintain. Usually starting anew justifies cost.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by multimediocrity View Post
    It seems that it almost always isn't. Changing over to a new technology will save a lot of trouble. Even if you keep a system running, it will become harder and harder to maintain. Usually starting anew justifies cost.
    I've been pushing it for 2 years. Seems they like the idea of laying half the workers off and expecting more productivity. Hopefully this is a phase just like "downsizing" or "rightsizing" was not too long ago.

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