Back To Basics: A Web Application Developer’s Story

Back-To-Basics-Web-Design466167561BlogRecently I had some free time in my project schedule, and rather than take vacation, I decided to approach my boss regarding training. Taking advantage of some quiet time around the office not only helped me recharge my batteries, but it also gave me some great ideas to take back to my group.

I’ve been a Web application developer for over 15 years and have exclusively worked on Microsoft Web applications. Even though minimal technical skills were required, I opted to take MTA: HTML5 Application Development Fundamentals. Microsoft introduced the MTA certifications in 2010 to assist individuals in taking the first step as an IT professional or developer. Even though I have more advanced certifications under my belt (MCSE, etc.), I felt that the MTA course in HTML5 would be an excellent way to get an update on some of the more recent trends in Web application development.

Here are some of my takeaways from the class:

  • HTML has come a long way. Over the years, many of us turned to server-side scripting platforms, such as ASP.NET, PHP and ColdFusion, to get more out of our Web pages than HTML can deliver. Many advanced features have been added to the HTML5 specification, so it may be possible to simplify your applications.
  • Focus on mobile and responsive design. The course covered many of the newer CSS3 items, such as flexible boxes and using columns, to enhance text flow throughout a page.
  • JavaScript coding for the touch interface. While I haven’t had to design an application specifically for a touch-screen interface yet, I’m sure it’s coming. Learning that these items already exist in JavaScript and how to use them was a big bonus.
  • The importance of platform independence. This was a big shock coming from a “Microsoft” class. All labs were tested in multiple browsers, including Internet Explorer, Chrome, Safari and Opera. The instructor also emphasized the browser-specific prefixes that we needed to include in our CSS for optimal display.
  • Geolocation. I love apps or Web pages that can help me find the nearest location to me. Who knew that getting your GPS coordinates was just an easy JavaScript call?

I haven’t decided yet if I’ll finish up and take the exam (MTA 98-375). We covered a lot of material in just three days, but I can review the materials, the course recordings and labs for up to six months. That should give me enough preparation and time to get a new certification for the new year.

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