I’ve been putting a lot of effort into languages such as JS, JSON, AJAX recently and one of several mini projects I made was a little teamgenerator app. It basically creates two teams based on pre-defined ratings.

The idea had been in my head for a while as we have to manually pick the football teams at work each week. I was pretty chuffed with the prototype and decided it would be good to go that little bit further and create something where users can register and generate teams on my server. The project is still under development but I’m planning to launch it before August. You will be able to read more about it and also have a play with it then.

I’m primarily a front-end(FE) developer, who has always leaned more to the design side rather than back-end(BE) development, the idea of making a full blown app was quite scary. Although I know languages such as PHP – mainly from WordPress – I have never built anything of this scale from scratch. After pumping myself up and doing several star jumps I eagerly got to work on this seemingly mammoth task.

A month later and I have to say that I’m delighted with what I’ve made. I’m now really chuffed that I had a stab at something I wouldn’t normally have thought of doing and I also wish I knew then what I know now.

Before deciding to make this “full featured” app I had planned to allow other people who are code literate to download, change the JSON and run the app on their computer. I’m really glad I didn’t take that easy option as now I’ve almost completed all the functionality and learnt shed loads in the process. I read this article by Ashley Baxter around xmas time and other than finding it interesting, I thought nothing of it. As my app began to take shape I thought back to the article and her words “If I can do it, so can you” started to make perfect sense.

The truth is teamgenerator wasn’t particularly difficult to make if you understand the fundamentals of code. I presented it to a few lads at work and it was just textbook basic stuff for those smart/experienced folk. I’ve not made anything amazing or wrote any fancy code. But what I have done is made a special effort to make/learn something that I normally wouldn’t.

The term “full stack developer” has been flying about recently and I’ve seen people both for and against this label. I think it sounds a little pretentious and maybe something like webmaster sounds better (although I will never call myself fully stacked, webmaster or anything comparable). However I do agree with the “full stack” concept, and I know people who can write code in dozens of languages and know enough to be competent both in FE and BE development. They shouldn’t be as good at CSS as someone who writes it all day but if they know how to get by then they’re – debatably – qualified to add that to their “stack”.

Anyway my point is that by writing this app I’ve – debatably – been able to add some aspects of PHP to my “stack”. I’m certainly no expert and I imagine a PHP dev would find holes in my code but I’ve learnt it, wrote it and it works so that’s a good start.
The project has opened my eyes to development a little bit and encouraged me to play with more code to enable me to become a more knowledgable developer.

I’m not aiming to become a “full stack” boy as I’m always going to enjoy FE/Design more than I do BE. But it doesn’t hurt to have a greater understanding of it.

So if you’re thinking of making something, PHP baffles you or you just want to know more then you should set about making something. It doesn’t have to be the new Facebook or Twitter. As long as you’re learning and having fun then the outcome is always going to be a positive one!

Thanks for reading!

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