Now is the Winter of my discontent.
I may never be a professional web developer again. It’s not because I don’t love doing it; I’m always looking at ways to make interesting and practical websites. The eleven years as a professional software engineer is what people see on my resume. What they don’t see is that I don’t want to go back to those years when most of what I did was Java back-end and full-stack development. I don’t want to work with Java anymore. What I learned and experienced as a Java web developer is still in me. It can be applied to other programming languages. Before I went professional, I did voluntary and personal web development with Java, PHP, Python, Perl, and plain old HTML. If I can go back to the old way and get paid for it, great. But my past may be hindering me. It may be time to look for something else. Here is what I do and don’t love in web development.
I love WordPress because it uses PHP. In the world of full-stack web development, too many websites take far too long and cost too much money too produce. They cite enterprise-level access as the reason. Unless there’s a need for hundreds of thousands of concurrent users on a website, these measures don’t need to be taken. PHP and other template engines like Python’s Jinja2 allow for logical code to be embedded in the HTML code. They cannot run on your browser, so the web server has to process the HTML files and send the pure HTML to the browser. This is something the end user never sees, but for the developer it provides a fast approach to making rich websites and web-based content-management tools like the WordPress editor. I love having the HTML written with the logic code, where I can visually imagine the result before testing. I wrote a web application for my community’s Wii Bowling league before my first season as official scorekeeper, with just two week’s notice. Testing and debugging wasn’t completed before the season, but I was able to collect the data from my phone and a week later it worked fine.
The non-HTML back-end languages like Java allows for HTML to never be written there. The whole idea is to use the back-end to provide data, make RESTful API calls from the front end to the back end, then generate the HTML using the response from the back end. This is much more lightweight than you would expect, but it is costly to develop and implement, and most websites don’t need it. My favorite Java front-end tool is Java Server Faces, but I don’t think the Model-View-Controller method of coding works well with JSF. Java Server Faces allows for using XHTML to make more of a template approach using Java.
I’m having fun learning and growing with using simpler approaches to building websites than using Java. I’ve using online recruiting sites like Monster and Zip Recruiter and have been unsuccessful. I want to remain local and work on site. Remote working would be too non-productive. Also, I don’t want to be a Java developer anymore. I would rather be a Unix/Linux system administrator and write code with my all-time favorite programming language, Perl. Python is a close number two and something I’m more familiar with currently. The biggest problem I found with the online recruiters is the AI machine learning algorithms. They don’t read resumes well and us guys don’t feed in enough data to get a better outcome. The bottom line is that my matches are always Senior Java Engineering positions.
I wish I can retire.