Friday, March 30, 2012

Thoughts on LAMP Development(Linux Apache MySQL PHP)

It's about two years since I started on the whole LAMP thing.  Well the circumstances were like this - I was working on a Linux based product and we wanted to develop a data collection software. Now the problem was we wanted a solution that was quick to develop. So we decided on developing a web application instead of desktop application. So we went forward and used LAMP to develop it and we were satisfied with the speed of development. A desktop application in C-GTK or Java would have taken lots of time and the team didn't have any significant expertise in both of them. Although we were fine with html and we got along with PHP just fine. The main part was easily accessible documentation and the ease of coding.

So we developed a solution that was basically a bunch of HTML forms with some PHP thrown in so that we could push the data to a MySQL database as well as call some other programs to perform some tasks using Shell Scripts. It wasn't an elegant solution but it got the work done. It also got PHP added to my profile.

Later I got to work on a few more projects concerning web development. And my expertise with PHP grew. But later I came to know that we can do just as much with PHP. For more functionality I need to use JavaScript. So I researched about various JavaScript libraries and finally settled on JQuery. That meant I need to learn what JQuery is and what it offers and how. So I grabbed a nice looking book by the title "JQuery Ninja" and after a month and a small project later I was pretty good with things.

JQuery allowed me to do many things that were not possible with PHP as well as some things that were not as much user friendly when done with plain HTML. Especially the AJAX functionality provided by JQuery become a necessity to me. It also helped me code complex pages with unprecedented ease. Remember till now I'm not anywhere near websites. What I'm working on are web applications where functionality matters most and looks are secondary. But then I got the opportunity to work on couple of websites and that changed the game altogether.

As with any website the focus is on looks and then the functionality. Often the goal is to combine looks and usability together to provide best experience. So I was burdened with even more work for making the thing look better. Sure having access to JQuery's UI functions and effects helps a bit, but I needed to tackle the theming problem and so I dug deeper into the world of web designing - how to theme a Web page, how to combine various elements with CSS to make it an awesome experience. Unfortunately I don't have any gifts with colors and pictures so I couldn't go as far as I would have liked. That sucks but then a Jack of all trades can handle just so many trades! :D

Well, I have come a long way when it comes to bare PHP development. Perhaps it's time for me to try a few frameworks. But they all seem so bloated to me since I have worked on bare PHP for so long. Hope some project comes along that makes me use some framework! Because I don't think otherwise I will be touching any!

p.s. I have tangled with Wordpress and Drupal. They both seem nice. Let's see if I can dig something that would actually need all their functionality!

1 comment:

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