If you can write code directly in Java, PHP or Ruby, then that’s great. I’m happy for you. But many of us aren’t at that stage yet, and perhaps will never be. So, what we really need is a software design pattern that can make things just that little bit easier.
This is where the MVC framework comes in. This gives the design of web apps a structure, and separates things out into:
MODEL – the data centre that receives instructions from the controller
VIEW – the visual side of your app, so how it appears in the browser
CONTROLLER – the control system that is between the client side and the model objects
When it comes to these frameworks, there are more than a few to choose from. Some are definitely more tricky to contend with, so here’s my breakdown of the ones that keep things simple.
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The great thing about Rails is that it does everything that is needed to create a web app, in a simple and easy way. There is an excellent official library that makes clear how to build your own web app, and a great deal of online resources, tools and communities that mean the beginner can learn everything at home. And as programming goes, it really is simple! Add to that a clear syntax and a pragmatic WYSIWYG approach, and Rails is the perfect starting point for the coding newbie.
This is a PHP framework that is aimed at making web development more fun for the kids. And also for the grown up kids like myself. It does this by making the complicated tasks, such as routing, caching and authentication, more straightforward. And it manages this without losing functionality. It also has some attractive templates, simple syntax, good tutorials and a wide community to draw from.
Python is currently top of the charts in terms of trending programming languages, so learning a solid framework based on Python couldn’t be such a bad idea. Django is also one of the most popular Python frameworks. It is flexible, scalable and can be used for more basic projects just as easily as it can work for the big time. Django goes easy on the beginner, but it still needs some time to be put into learning. It works on the principle, ‘don’t repeat yourself’, and most of the time it’s fast and simple.
Not a big name framework, but for those with an interest in Java, this deserves a look. Java is still in the top three programming languages, so having some knowledge of a Java framework under your belt could be useful. Spring is currently gaining popularity in back-end development, especially for working on J2EE apps, and is used by TicketMaster and Wix. It’s a good one for the beginner because it’s relatively easy to learn and has a great ecosystem and online resources.
ASP.NET from Microsoft concentrates on the server side, and can be used to build dynamic web pages and applications. It has a great way of keeping dynamic apps simple, and minimising the amount of code needed. This is another framework that is quite easy to learn for the beginner, though it does help with a little knowledge of the C# language.
Well, I’ll be honest – it’s never gonna be easy all of the time. There will always be moments of pulling your hair out and waving your hands around frantically, but that’s just coding. As long as you pace yourself and look to your resources and community for help, anything is possible. And yes, sometimes it does take time so take that into consideration. But where there’s a will… you know the rest ;-)