Still looking for fast web development techniques

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.

4 thoughts on “Still looking for fast web development techniques

  1. Quote: “and I don’t like creating online applications that can potentially only work with Internet Explorer”What a load of crap, have you looked into asp.net mvc recently? and im a mac user.

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    • not really a load of crap. i could try asp.net mvc but it would take time to learn and i would have to pay for visual studio which isn’t cheap. unless i can use the free version – i don’t know too much for it. but let’s say i get passed that hurdle. i use other frameworks such as bootstrap and jquery. have you seen how IE8 reacts with these libraries? it doesn’t work 100% of the time. as a matter of fact, jquery will soon stop supporting internet explorer 8 and below. most IE users are still on IE8 or lower.i’ve written this article over a year ago and have found some open source MVC using PHP which i’m already familiar with – CodeIgniter. It has sped up development. On top of that I have pretty much ignored support for IE8 or lower. i have standardized using HTML5 so IE8 or lower won’t be of much support anyway.it’s great you’ve found asp.net mvc in a mac environment to be of use. of the years i’ve develop online applications, i just found that supporting IE, specially old versions, is a waste of development time and resource.

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      • Visual Studio Express is free, and the 2012 version supports NuGet, so it’s actually a reasonably powerful tool for a lot of purposes. Also, you don’t necessarily have to use asp.net and host on Windows just because you use Visual Studio – even if you’re writing client side JavaScript that will ultimately be hosted on some Linux box somewhere, it’s still a highly useful editor and debugger.

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      • ya i’ve been playing with visual studio off and on whenever i get curious with .net. i actually was able to get a license for VS2012 Pro from a MS program they had for educators. it’s a nice IDE but i still prefer Dreamweaver (mostly code view) and Aptana. it just feels more lightweight. on top of that, it works with both windows and mac. i don’t want to always have to run windows virtually to run an IDE when coding.actually, microsoft’s webmatrix 2 is nice as well. it’s more lightweight than VS and also has a built-in webserver.

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