What’s Your Stack?

balanced stack of rocks

Years ago, I proudly applied the LAMP stack to all of my web development efforts. Never mind that it was smack dab in the middle of the time when PHP deserved its bad reputation and most, if not all, of the code that I wrote was as bad as the worst out there. I was making money. I was confident, working steadily, and proud of my work.

Times have changed. I took some time off from working and quite literally forgot everything I knew about Web Development. It was time to do some retraining.

One logical perspective suggests that it would’ve been best to jump back into the PHP ecosystem. If I read some tutorials I might *revive* some of the connections that made me enjoy being a PHP developer. There are many employment opportunities for PHP Developers and PHP has come a long way since the bad old days. It’s much easier to write good code in PHP and there are powerful frameworks like Symfony and Laravel that put Web Development with PHP on par with other contemporary methodologies. But I didn’t take this route. I felt like I needed something new to spark my imagination again.

There were a few things poking at my enthusiasm (Wake up!… You’re not dead yet). First of all, I remembered having fun with jQuery. It was mostly frontend animated stuff. I definitely wanted to have fun again. CSS animation was the next thing to have captured my imagination. I didn’t know how to do it, but I knew that it was a thing and I wanted to know more. Finally, there’s Node. I knew almost nothing about it, but I had heard that it allowed server-side development using JavaScript.

Here’s how it all connected in my mind…

jQuery == JavaScript == animation == fun
∴ JavaScript == fun && animation == fun
∴ CSS animation == fun
∴ Node == fun

It was about this time that I (re-)discovered freeCodeCamp, which guides the learner through a Web Development stack using jQuery, React, & NodeJS. So, freeCodeCamp’s curriculum was perfectly aligned with my interests and goals.

Some time has passed since then. I’ve followed freeCodeCamp’s curriculum pretty closely, but I used many other resources too. I still have a lot to learn, but I’d consider myself a competent MERN stack developer. Given all the information I’ve gleaned from forums, social media, and job search sites, I’m confident that I’ve chosen the right path for me.

This isn’t to say that I’ve completely abandoned the LAMP stack. On the contrary, I’m looking forward to jumping back in. I definitely plan to present both LAMP and MERN skills among my service offerings.

I have to give credit for my current Web Development focus to my past experience with jQuery. Ironically, I don’t have much use for jQuery these days. Anything I ever did with jQuery can be done using a combination of plain JavaScript and CSS, without the overhead of external libraries.

So… What’s your stack? And why?