People who work in web development know how difficult it is to keep up with the trends. The transformational character of technology can be overwhelming at times, so receiving some words of advice from people who already know how to handle new projects can be the jumpstart that any developer needs. The tools and frameworks which were used a while back went through serious changes. Building web applications today is much more different than it was a couple of years ago.
Nevertheless, web application developers have to keep up with these drastic fluctuations and learn how to use them to obtain outcomes which are visibly improved from what people expect. Beginning the process of web application development in today’s world requires thorough information about what is considered relevant at the moment. The tips included in this article are oriented towards rapid, steady growth and they represent the foundation that a web application developer needs in 2019.
What changed in web application architecture?
Architecture is perhaps the most important element in developing web applications. It can be separated into multiple sub-categories, all of which have particular elements that need to be further analyzed. A web application developer should spend most of their time to set up the project’s language, APIs, framework, integration options, topology and more. The web application architecture influences how the project turns out in the end, not to mention that it dictates the development process from start to finish.
The main aspect that needs to be highlighted in building web apps is architecture, so it would be best to use most resources to set up a strong architecture that is shaped according to the developer’s knowledge and experience. Regardless of the stack selected, the project won’t turn out the way it is expected unless the developer knows how to use it. In the end, all architectures have the same purpose, but the way they influence the development process is ultimately what makes the difference.
Test-Driven Development matters more than ever
Test-Driven Development (TDD) doesn’t replace the traditional testing process, as many people believe. Instead, TDD is a better way to ensure effective testing at every step of the project. TDD works perfectly in practice and it is a method that most app developers decided to adopt. Since TDD is an Agile requirement, web application developers that want to run the process smoothly shouldn’t skip this step, along with Test First Development (TFD), which is simply a different style of testing implementation. The main purpose of using TFD and TDD is to write clean code from the very beginning, without encountering as many errors. The web app development process is not a black and white one.
There are always errors that appear, changes that are required or gaps that need to be filled. More often than not, TDD is used to prevent uncomfortable situations from appearing and the lack of it can lead to wasting resources. More value is visible when TDD is used to refactor code. Saving one part of the application and breaking another is surely not the wanted result. TDD may initially slow down the app development process because of the groundwork required to initiate it yet the efforts will be worth it in the long run.
Understanding Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery
Continuous Integration (CI) and Continuous Delivery (CD) have been discussed in web application development lately. CI and CD are developmental approaches. The essence of CI resides in linking all the features directly to the main release, encouraging a collaborative working space and testing all features/releases automatically. The reason why CI should be included in web app development is that it reduces the number of unpleasant errors when merging multiple features of an app. Continuous Delivery, conversely, refers to delivering an app after each feature is developed.
The building process becomes repeatable and deterministic. CD involves testing each feature or release separately, in their own environment. The purpose of CD is to deliver the web app as fast as possible. CD brings the usage of iterations with small increments, the analysis of feedback after each release, fast adaptation, and organic functionality increases in the attention of the developer. Simply put, the web application should be ready for delivery after each change of code, no matter how small. CI and CD are mentioned in the list of Agile principles.
The sub-category of persistence
Persistence is a sub-category of web application architecture that should be emphasized from the rest because it applies to all types of languages and platforms. Web application developers should direct their resources towards Object Relational Mapping and migration scripts. ORM is a programming technique that allows the developer to access and manipulate certain objects without affecting their data source. The technique started to become popular after the paradigm difference between Object-Oriented development model and the relational one was emphasized. ORM frameworks involve working with APIs for CRUD operations, persistent classes and attributes, metadata definitions, optimization techniques based on the nature of the web application and more.
Implementing better security practices
The Internet is not as secure as developers would want at the moment, which means they also need to focus on the best security practices for the web apps they create. The best methods of securing applications better include password salting, using JSON Web Tokens and setting up session expiry. Password salting refers to assigning passwords to users and constantly hashing a new string of characters.
Salt-enabling web apps is an effective way of encryption that should become a common practice among all web application developers. JSON Web Tokens are used for establishing a secure connection between a client and the accessed server. Whenever the client uses the Sign In option, a JWT Token is attributed to him. This token is stored in the cookies which have an expiry date. Even though good security practices take time and patience to implement correctly, they represent a paramount step in the web app development process which can’t be skipped any longer, regardless of the situation.