Week 3: Full stack web development is extremely hard

Week 3: Full stack web development is extremely hard


My first introduction to the world of coding was discovering that it was possible to create a website all by yourself, using your own computer, which you could unleash, fairly easily, onto the worldwide web.

It was back in 2016 and Lee and I were looking to launch a website for a project we were working on (British Ideas Corporation).  We had asked around various acquaintances who we thought might help us out with the digital side of this but to no avail. We were on our own.

I did what I would usually do in this type of situation – go to the library and see if there were any books on the subject. To my amazement there were – and it quickly dawned on me that putting a website together isn’t actually that hard! (Which is true. However, putting together a website that is attractive, functional, accessible and interactive is not so easy, which I’ve spent the last 6½ years discovering).

You can in fact put together an excellent website without knowing any code whatsoever, and for many people this is the easiest and best option. However, when I discovered that you could write an HTML file to put the content of your website in, style it with a CSS file, and then add interactivity with JavaScript, there was nothing else I wanted to spend my time doing. I was hooked!

We ended up launching our website using WordPress,  a content management system which uses templates for the simple creation of stylish websites. It worked for us, and my rudimentary HTML, CSS and PHP knowledge enabled me to create a custom template for the site.

All good so far. However, my passion for coding had only increased. I couldn’t get enough of it! I spent whatever free time I had doing challenges on Frontend Mentor (recreating front end designs), mostly using HTML and CSS and then using JavaScript to complete Codewars Katas. I was getting fairly good at both of these things. But I wasn’t very good at was trying to tie these two elements together. I had implemented some rudimentary functionality to some of the websites I had put together, but definitely nothing to write home about.

I got some advice about how to remedy this situation. Some courses were suggested. I looked into them. The one which appealed to me the most was Full Stack Open by the University of Helsinki. It describes itself as ‘An introduction to modern web application development with JavaScript’ with the main focus ‘on building single page applications’.

Fantastic, just what I was after. And it’s totally free, which appeals to my library mentality.

It has 13 parts. I started it in November and two months later I’ve just finished part 2. I haven’t written a blog since I started it as it’s been taking up any spare time that I’ve had, but I have to say I’m finally putting the pieces of the web development jigsaw together and it’s very exciting. I like that they have they have the Full Stack ‘developer’s oath’ which begins  ‘Full stack development is extremely hard.’  Yeay – here we go!