Full stack developer

I’ve had a job titles such as PHP developer, Java developer and front-end developer. But can I call myself a full stack developer?

Not much has changed; everything has changed! 🤯

As a junior web developer at my first job (2002), I built websites using PHP and MySQL. This popular web stack is commonly known as LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP).

I used HTML to describe (and structure) the content using table based layouts. And my limited knowledge of CSS allowed for minor visual creativity. To top it all off, JavaScript allowed me to (somehow) manipulate DOM elements in the browser. Those were the days of “Dynamic HTML (DHTML)”, where pretty much everything was an experiment. But without a proper debugger (let alone a console), it was tough going.

Yes, I learned about front-end web development the hard way!

Then again, I recently came up with my own definition for what front-end web development is. There is no one correct definition, as it varies from job to job, company to company.

🚀 Fast-forward to now.

I’m building a Vue.js Single File Component, included in a Blade Template of a Laravel application. The application returns data in JSON from an end-point based on the XML result of an external API call. The component polls the application end-point until the API finishes returning results. Due to the reactivity of Vue.js, the DOM gets updated as the data changes.

I’ve had to work on most of the web stack for this:

  • PHP: converted an XML response into the JSON format I specified for the Vue.js component.
  • JavaScript: built a Vue.js component to display content dynamically. This included polling functionality, as well as the sorting and filtering of content.
  • HTML/CSS: creating the markup and styles to display the content based on a proposed design. This involved adding to an existing pattern library I had created. This alone has essentially been my primary focus as a front-end developer.
A modern tech stack
A modern tech stack: AWS, Laravel, MySQL, HTML5, CSS3, Vue.js, JavaScript, Webpack and gulp

And then there’s everything in between:

  • Researching
  • Documenting
  • Planning
  • Suggesting
  • Learning
  • Testing
  • Optimizing

These are the things that experience has taught me which are crucial to the success of every project. They aren’t glamorous and feel unrewarding at the time.

Jack of all trades and master of some. 🛠

A quote I read by Ira Glass this week renewed my passion for what I do:

It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions.

Full stack or not, I’m just a web developer trying to make websites, better.