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Web Development Dilemma - Part 1

It's been a long time since I moved away from Desktop Applications Development. By then, my favourite Tool of Trade was VS.Net 2005, and Language was C#. Had to spent quite a lots of sleepless nights just to learn these. Developed few Applications too.

About 2 years ago I got a job to develop a Community's Membership Management and Loan Management System. The requirement was that members could apply for loans from the comfort of their home or workplace, without having to come to the community office to fill-up the form. Further, loans applications were to go through selected community members who were part of the loans approval/review committee. Earlier, they used to hold a meeting together on the weekend to study and process loans. While reviewing an application, they used to pull up old files of the loan applicants. Earlier work model was very tedious and data collection was time-consuming. So, the application had to be web-based with optimized work processes to save on time and effort. I did it, got accolades, was praised for efficiency and more work from the same client. But I had to go through a lot to get those brownie points and of-course money. Background story follows:

I was out of job (had recently left the job), newly married, out of money; problems, problems. I was confident though, and confidence came through responsibility of not just supporting myself but my wife and our future progeny. I did not know web-development, just knew a little HTML, No CSS, JS, jQuery or even PHP for that matter. I had four months to learn everything and get the job done. I was hungry, and didn't know when any new offer would come. So, I grabbed the opportunity and set out to do it. (I had to lie  though that I knew Web-Development.)

Since I was from .Net background, my obvious inclination was to turn to ASP.Net, but after few attempts I left it for PHP. PHP was easy to learn. I did not go for structured learning, I just learn whatever I could quickly to get the job done. While learning PHP I came to know about Frameworks, and decided to go learn a framework too, so following a friends suggestion, I went for Kohana and studied it for a while. Soon, I realized that I do not have enough time to learn a framework and build a structure for the required Application - Authentication, User Management, Roles and Capabilities, Content Management etc. I needed a programmable CMS instead of a PHP Framework, as the application would also serve as a information website and I couldn't afford to build so much in so less time.

After some time spent on Google, I picked Wordpress to be my platform for developing the application. I am glad now that I made the decision. Wordpress was easy to install, configure and get the site up and running in no time. I learnt how to build a plugin and developed the complete application as a plugin with lots of background processing - Automated Loan Application Review Level Elevation, Automated Emails to Review Committee Members on the event of New Loan Application, Automated Loan Installment Payment Reminder through SMS and Emails and more. I did struggle a lot while implementing AJAX in the website as the application was resource hungry and was running in a shared hosting environment, I even got banned unreasonably from a hosting provider without them offering any explanation. I had to optimize my code through AJAX and JSON. But, I did it with persistence, patience, eagerness to learn, spending lots of sleepless nights, gallons of coffee and ENO. Everybody is happy.

Now that I know more about web-development, I am thinking about upgrading the complete application while optimizing processes some more and make it mobile friendly for free as it was my first application.

Things I learnt: HTML, CSS, PHP, MySQL, jQuery, JSON, AJAX.

I did more jobs for the same client in the same platform, always evolving, always improving on the old learning.

Then I got a job to build an ERP Application which were to be integrated with Tally.ERP 9. I knew Tally Customization, and had successfully integrated Tally with other applications. My developed Tallydev Transfer (Excel to Tally Data Transfer Application) was also successful and loved by my clients for its simplicity. So, Once again I was confident about the whole thing. And then...

Read the Next Part : Web Development Dilemma - Part 2
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