How to Build a Web Application

Building a web application (web apps) can be a daunting task. It includes so many decisions that it’s easy to quit before even starting.  Here is an essential guide to building a great basic web application and avoid common pitfalls.

Whether you’re the ‘technical guy’ in a startup or the team lead in a small to medium-sized enterprise, you have found the right place! The key to building a complete modern web application is learning.

In the fast-paced world of technology, you’ll definitely

The key to building a complete modern web application is learning.

Therefore the key to building a complete modern web application is learning by doing.

What Exactly IS a Web Application?

It might sound silly but it’s necessary to clarify what we mean by the term ‘web app’.

Choose a Programming Language

You should at least know or learn one programming language. If you know more than one, choose the one you’re most comfortable with. If you stay within the spectrum of standard object-oriented languages (Java, C#, Python, PHP, TypeScript) it is more a religious decision then a technical one. – And one of necessity as you’ll probably have to employ at least two languages: One for the front-end and one for the back-end of your application.

[Front-end — Back-end communication diagram with several different clients]

Choose a Development Framework

Based on the programming language you should choose a development framework. Frameworks help you to get started and force you to use good practices and design patterns. They usually take the pain out of boring but vital details like logging, caching, security, and data management. At the beginning, frameworks will constrain you in many ways. But as your application grows you will recognize the power of the framework and the architectural decisions.

Make sure to choose a framework which is made for your purpose, e. g., don’t use a development framework for embedded or high-performance software. Have a look at reference and tutorial apps.

While programming languages are pretty generic (and evolve only slowly), frameworks are much more likely to adapt to new demands. A rule of thumb is: The more you move from the database to the user, the less stable the framework will be.

Use The Right Tools and Methods

 

Use Some Kind of Development Process

You have to find a development process for yourself.

Try to produce clean code according to some basic software engineering principles (DRY, SOLID). Find people with a similar task in your local area or online to exchange and discuss your approaches.

General rule: Code as if you’re writing for someone else. — Because if you’re successful, someone (and also yourself in three months!) definitely will have to read your code. Remember that there’s no quick-and-dirty approach in software development!

Quality means doing it right when no
one is looking. — Henry Ford

Start Building Your Web Application Now!

Don’t be afraid. Make the most of your abilities and learn the rest along the way. Learn the methods and tools of the trade. Refine and improve your development approach.

Good luck and may regular self-reflection be with you!

André Nitze

André Nitze

Researcher / Consultant at QualityMagnet UG
André is a researcher and lecturer at the Brandenburg University of Applied Sciences. His industry-oriented research is focused on software quality and mobile applications. Based on his internationally published findings, he guides organizations to craft and implement successful strategies and solutions.
André Nitze

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