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What a professional full-stack web developer needs to know

What a professional full-stack web developer needs to know
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The prior goal of our blog is knowledge systematization that can help you to understand and use developer tools. And this time we would like to present you a high-level overview of what a professional full-stack developer needs to know. 

Of course, you wouldn’t find here all the developer tools available on the internet. But in this article, we collected the main basics, concepts, and instruments you will need as a full-stack developer.

Let’s start! So here are the things you already work with (or maybe not). But as a professional developer, you need to understand them and be able to work with most of them (and more of them).

Foundations (HTML/CSS/JS)

These are the 3 main technologies all websites are made of. HTML is used to define the content of a website, CSS specifies how it looks (fonts/colors/images/etc), and JavaScript allows you to dynamically manipulate elements (everything interactive you see on the internet was made using JS).

They give you all you need to create a simple website.

Frameworks

Frameworks are used to implement all the common functionality you need much faster and easier. They enable you to get results much faster, that’s why we recommend you to use them as soon as possible. Moreover, frameworks will teach you the best practices in a natural way. By using frameworks, you will absorb a huge amount of knowledge incredibly quickly, and avoid wasting time on anything unnecessary.

The best frameworks from our experience are Bootstrap (it’s a CSS framework) and jQuery (it is a JavaScript framework) which are used by the vast majority of the websites. Bootstrap has a lot of customizable interface elements suitable also for mobile devices. jQuery has an enormous amount of plugins for every purpose and significantly simplifies the way you manipulate web page elements.

WordPress

WordPress is the world’s most popular CMS (content management system). Even not a technical person can easily customize a website with WordPress. It has an infinite amount of themes and plugins that will cover 90% of your needs. Nevertheless, as a professional developer, you have to know all the nuances hidden in WordPress.

Domain Names and Hosting

To make what you’ve created available to the world you need to provide a domain name and hosting. Also, you will need VPS (virtual private cloud) – to set the complete remote control over and to serve the sites you have to build with frameworks. One the most famous hosting server example is DigitalOcean.

Backend Frameworks

Backend frameworks are used to professional creating custom websites. For that, you have to learn one of the backend frameworks. They run on the server, and dynamically generate HTML for a website every time the user visits a URL.
There are dozens of options, but we will help you to narrow it down to 3 most spread:

  1. Ruby on Rails is our framework of choice in Syndicode
    Ruby on Rails is famous and reliable open-source MVC framework, powered by Ruby. It was created to make the coding of web-based applications simpler and faster. It allows the coder to write significantly less code than other frameworks. You can read more about Ruby on Rails advantages in our recent article Why Ruby on Rails is ideal for Web App development. Rails is a good tool for professionals to build any kind of web applications, from basic websites to high-traffic web portals or internal corporate application. Also, RoR has a lot of standard tools in original package, that should be sufficient to develop heavy apps.
  2. Django 
    This famous framework is written in Python and considered as the major competitor of RoR. Django itself is straightforward, powerful, flexible, and has excellent documentation. It will give you an excellent framework for thinking about the backend code, and the understanding the core fundamentals of web development in general. Django follows a Model-Template-View (very similar to MVC) architecture to divide logic and views.
  3. Node and Express
    Node and Express are extremely powerful tools that might be a bit tough for a beginner, but if you have an understanding of Django — you will learn them quickly.
    Node will enable you to build websites quickly and understand a lot of backend programming concepts in more depth, have an easier time building APIs, real-time web apps (like a chat or a game), and universal web apps.
    Express is an open-source framework for Node.js to build classical web applications with server side and API. In other words, it’s a standard server framework for projects that use javascript on the backend. If you are new in web development and only know some JavaScript (and basic tools like HTML, CSS) Express would be the easiest framework to start with. On the other hand, JavaScript might be a little bit quirky sometimes, so for complete beginners, we would suggest starting with Python or Ruby on the backend.

Frontend Frameworks

If you know HTML/CSS/JS and at least one backend framework —  you are a capable web developer with the power to create many kinds of websites (congrats!). But if you want to become a full-stack developer, you have to add a frontend framework to your knowledge base. They enable you to create powerful single-page applications. As with backend there are a plethora of frameworks for the frontend, but we will stop on 2 of them:

  1. Angular
    Angular is a JavaScript open-source framework designed especially for single-page web apps and mobile application development, using MVC architectural pattern. Standard HTML deals with static data, but Angular extends it and allows to use dynamic data to create a web application rather than a static HTML web site. Angular is supported by Google and its large community —  one of the most popular framework on Github.
  2. React
    React is one of JavaScript frameworks also, created and supported by Facebook. It provides only View-level (templating language) and some callback functions to render HTML code, but it’s quite a powerful frontend tool. Everything you create with React is a component —  a JavaScript file containing JSX and all necessary logic inside. You can build whole HTML page where each element can be a component (buttons, headers, checkboxes, lists, tables etc) and define their view and behavior in corresponding js files. You can use same components in differents pages.

Other popular frontend frameworks are Redux and Vue.js.

DevOps

This is the final part of the puzzle a Full-Stack Web Developer needs to learn. DevOps is a software development and delivery process that emphasizes communication and collaboration between product management, software development, and operations professionals. Imagine an octopus, that will help. Or take a look at this picture:

What a full-stack developer needs to know. Syndicode

To name the major thing will help you in this field will set an example of Docker. Docker is an industry standard for deploying web applications, it makes the whole process fast, elegant and convenient.

You will certainly learn more as you follow along, and go into depth into the topics that interest you the most. Good luck!

Check our open positions — we’re looking for more developers to join our team.
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