I’ve been developing web sites for almost 10 years now. I’m still in search of a way to develop faster. I find myself doing things over and over again.
I use PHP as the programming language to develop the web apps with MySQL database. I started to look for different frameworks – but most use MVC and I don’t have time to learn it.
Some have suggested to do validation using MySQL. This helps a bit so I don’t have to write more PHP code to validate whether or not the record exists, foreign key constraints, etc. Plus it really is good practice to have these in place in the database layer.
Next I looked in to template engines to help with the layout of the site. It does help quite a bit but I’m still left with a lot of PHP code. I use Dreamweaver to write code and I used to use its automated code writing but I found it too messy and inefficient. Now I only use it because the FTP client is built in, has a file checkout system and in CS5 it can read included files so I have easy access to them. The error check is nice too. It catches many syntax errors right away. It can read used variables and be a part of the autocomplete feature.
I tried using existing systems like CMS or blogs (Joomla and WordPress). I figured I can create add-ons on top of an existing system. Joomla uses the MVC framework. WordPress on the other hand is easier to figure out how to build on top of it. Plus their documentation is really easy to follow. One of the limitations I found is the lack of access levels. Another is the pre-existing environment may not fit with a project since it’s so customized – better to be built from the ground up.
I’ve been peeking into the .NET framework off and on. I don’t primarily use Windows at all. I’m mostly on a Mac or using some sort of Linux flavor. I do have Windows7 running virtually on my MBP and iMac so I can play with it. I have played with Visual Studio and it felt easy to use plus it seemed to make developing quick. The drawbacks I’ve found are Windows hosting is more expensive than Linux hosting, IDEs are expensive and run mostly on Windows OS, and I don’t like creating online applications that can potentially only work with Internet Explorer (does not support web standards and only available on Windows OS).
Rails looks promising with the DRY (don’t repeat yourself) approach. I’ve tried to look into it and even bought some books and watched some screencasts. It’s a great language but I can’t seem to understand how to authenticate/authorize different users. They have many different plugins that I can use but each one uses their own way of doing it.
I guess I’ll keep looking. Either I’ll find time to learn MVC framework, get better at Rails, or someone will develop a new platform to speed up web development.