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If you study web development now, will you need to change your code a lot in 10 years time?

Hi :)

I was just curious whether if you study web development now (and aim to master the core/essentials of HTML, CSS, JS, PHP, and MYSQL, namely) and create websites with those technologies combined, how much will you have to change re the code structure and design, in about a decade's time?

In other words, with programming being something that changes ever so often, I would like to invest my time in something that I am passionate about as well as something that won't be a great loss if I leave it off for some time.

For example, if you were to master the core principals of any one of those techs I mentioned up there within the next few months/years, what would it take to pick it up again if you left it off for some years and found that the language has changed plenty?

My father was once a PHP & MySQL expert around 14 years ago, and coming back to it now he finds the changes absolutely frustrating.

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5 answers

You are in the wrong business if you don't want to tackle changes. The only constant in this industry is change.

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Lila Fowler

I've been in the industry for 13 years. I used to be gung-ho about writing code, but the experiences taught me to focus more on tools and less on trivia. Once you get past a certain point, it becomes more about tools that you can leverage and tools that other people want you to use. All languages are just the same principles with different syntax styles. You learn just one, and the rest is easy-peasy. It doesn't matter which one or right one or wrong one. Just learn one and the rest follows without much effort. Whatever your employer/client wants you to use, you need to use it for them. So, in my case, I just have to learn ultrafast on the spot, use it to meet the requirements as fast as I can, and BAAM!!! There is a stash of money on the table for me to grab. That's how it's been for me.

That said, I would grab the following to get started if I were you:

  • PHP/MySQL in WordPress context
  • React/React Native
  • Laravel (PHP)
  • Django (Python)
  • NodeJS (JavaScript)

Angular and Rails are on their way out. Therefore, I wouldn't even bother learning at this point.

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After ten years a lot of things will change, if you write a code now you should do a refactoring because the syntax will change like Javascript changing ES06, 07 and 08. But you are growing together with the technology as well.

For example, an architect builds some home modern for days today, but after 10 years new ideas, new concepts appear. So, it occurs in all areas of jobs, software development is very frequency, but it doesn't the thing for demotivating and be frustrated, the changes are important, nowadays is very nice and motivated to write an app with React instead only HTML, CSS, JS.

Keep study is the best way! Don't give up!

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The most important stuff to keep in mind is the concepts, patterns, software engineer, how I said, syntax change, technology as well, but yourself mindset about how to do something, it is not.

The most important stuff to keep in mind is the concepts, patterns, software engineering, how I said syntax change, technology changes as well, but yourself mindset about how to do something not will change, though.

Another point is if you are a backend and you want to be frontend, so, you have learned a punch news stuff.

I suggest focused in one are and to be specialist them. But if you want to change of area, keep it in your mind.

I have a lot of experience in Java Platform, I'm migrating to Javascript platform for work with a bit about backend but with focused in Front End with React, HTML, CSS. So, I have a punch thing to learn and to practice.

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I've been doing web stuff for about ~15 years, and I was in college for graphic design from 2006-2009, so that was exactly 10 years ago!

As for the web technology we were taught:

  • Flash: non-viable by 2010, totally dead now
  • HTML/CSS: very viable, have become easier to use since then
  • WordPress: very viable, has now grown to power 1/3 of all websites on the internet

I've been building websites during this whole time, and consider myself luck with WordPress getting better over time, but some things, like Flash, which were huge weren't built well, and didn't survive.

There are tons of things you could go out and learn today that would be totally dead, like Flash, in 5 or 10 years, but I know for a fact that HTML, and CSS, and JavaScript will be used, so if you look at core 'foundational' technologies, those are more likely to be 'safe' things to invest time in learning and mastering.

It's also nice that PHP is still king :D Thought your dad might be frustrated, it is also nice that he can keep building on top of knowledge he already has!

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Well just one side-note about the ever changing technologies ... most of the now modern concepts are around 30+ years old. actor principles, futures / promises, functional programming is even older.

So I read the current academic papers plus some archives :) and switching a lot of languages over time (~ 1 per year) so I am not stuck with 1 set of problem solutions. It makes a lot of things easier if you at least heard them once.

The core problem will always remain the same information persistence, information transfer, information transformation/mutation.

but N != NP seems to stick at the moment and we have millions of solutions for the same problem.

You have got the right idea. I think that's a pretty clever method you have undertaken :)

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I can't speak for others but tech is only changing on surface. Inside the thing remains same: collect data, manipulate it and display it. This has never changed and till the point of AI taking over, it won't change.

Till we replace the screens, we will continue to have HTML, CSS and one server side language like say javascript, python, etc etc.

The code you have written in 1997 is only needed to be changed if that code has any server side language changes. That's why many pages made in geocities are still accessible and they render just fine.

Let's move on to complexity. Remember VB based desktop applications? Those applications are now moved to C# Dot net core and QT. How much code per year needs to be changed? That depends on the Operating system in target like say Linux, Windows and Mac.

PHP Side not many big changes happened last 10 years. Except Composer and Laravel. Python is still stuck with Django and 2 or 3 odd frameworks. C# is kind of closer environment even after open source. Java is slow dinosaur that will keep old code, slow and for long time. Javascript seems to be taking off quickly due to node and it has changed more than any other language out there. Lot of modules, frameworks and changes.

So if you are working on Javascript based projects expect the changes on recurring basis. Any other language hardly showing any promise and changes in it's core and frameworks.

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