I can not honestly say when I actually began web development, or more importantly when what was considered web development sneakily diversified into application development.
I think my first web site I ever created was back in early 2005, I had an idea that was going to take the world by storm and make me an internet millionaire all at the same time. The idea was a seemingly simple one, create a website selling advertising for home renovation companies in South Africa, most of which were small one man businesses struggling to get work, and rate the companies by customer reviews, so home owners would have peace of mind when choosing their household renovations specialist.
Being in the printing industry at the time I knew I had the equipment such as Mac and PC, and I knew I had the applications such as Photoshop, Illustrator, Freehand, Fireworks, and Dreamweaver to make my idea a reality, all I needed was the expertise. Also because I owned the business I knew my boss would be okay with it, and being in South Africa where computer skills were difficult to come by I had also done quite a bit of IT, on Mac, PC, Unix, Linux, so I figured it would be an easy natural progression.
Me and my 56k US Robotics modem were now ready to delve into the World Wide Web. I must have created my home page 50 times in 20 different applications, reworked the idea, reworked the design, and purchased about 20 books, this for Dummies, that for Dummies etc. I purchased “learn how easy web design is in 30 minutes”, “learn web design in a day”, “make any website in a day”, courses online in downloadable pdf’s, I asked friends, etc.
Nothing worked, and it was my own fault, I needed to get out of the mindset that web design was easy, well certainly not back in 2005, there was no magic application that was going to do this for me, like there are today.
I used my print skills to create 100 free adverts for home improvement companies and awaited the traffic, which never arrived, I went out and hired myself a company rep, and after 3 months she was yet to make a sale, and my wife was getting quite upset because I had employed the dumbest, prettiest blonde woman I could find. After 3 months with no sales we parted ways and I decided, well all i need to do now is learn one more thing “SEO”, another year later, and still nothing much had changed and I eventually gave up on my dreams of becoming the next big thing.
I continued in the Print Industry until 2011 when I decided that because of the knowledge I had developed in my wasted youth, and all the websites I had created for friends, just because I knew how, that I would start trying to make some money out of my skills, besides by then I had started using Adobe Dreamweaver Developer Toolkit (ADDT) and thought I was quite the hot shot.
When I opened my doors into the Web Design world, the first thing that became quickly apparent was that although I could code, I could not design to save my life, my brain is just not wired for design, however I knew hundreds of designers from the print field so I outsourced all my design, and still do.
In the first 3 months I had loads of work I already knew was in the pipeline before I even started the company. I had now completed all those websites and was searching high and low for more work, keeping in mind I had a wife with a love for all the finer things in life, 2 kids that loved money, a mother and father that needed financial assistance wherever possible. To put it bluntly my expenses were already high before I ever began and now work was difficult to come by.
Pretty soon I found my feet though and before I knew it, I was making enough to survive, unfortunately when I say survive, I mean survive if I worked 20 hour a day 7 days a week. Every task I took on would take 5 times longer than anticipated, every website I tried a new tool, such as iWeb, RapidWeaver, CoffeeCup Software, you name it, i probably tried it. I just needed to find a way to produce a website without starting in a text editor with a blank page.
Dreamweaver still does not make me feel as though I am in control of what is going on, even with all the DMX | Zone tools installed, and often I would find issues with the updates of extensions, not knowing what extension went with what other extension, and lastly each time i opened an old project that I had created with older extensions installed it would update elements and I would be scared.
Up until Wappler I have been going into Dreamweaver making a new page, inserting whatever DMX | Zone functionality I needed, then closing it all down, opening my file in Espresso and doing everything in code from there. I am a control freak and I own it.
Wappler to be honest also makes some edits, but it is Wappler edits, to Wappler extensions, in Wappler code, in the Wappler application, so i trust that what it does is not breaking things. Kind of like buying a car and taking it to the manufacturer for services, when something goes wrong I am not listening to stories of how mechanic X did this and having to prove who is wrong and who is right. With Wappler I feel this sense of trust, plus it is transparent, I can see what it is doing in front of my eyes, if I do not like it, I can change it, if I no longer feel like using Wappler I can take my code fully contained and functional into any text editor I like.
Rapid development wise I find it to be faster and more reliable than any software I have used before. For design I do feel that there might be applications I have used that equal or better the speed of the build in Wappler, however I never know what they are doing in the code, and even if I do, I generally do not agree with what it is doing, or how it is building what I want. Wappler builds and writes code exactly the way I would have done it manually 99% of the time, so to me it is fast, very, very fast.
For application development, in my opinion there is no equal, anybody in my opinion could make an application in this that would work to some degree, and for me who knows quite a bit of code in my head already, it does everything to perfection. I unfortunately do not have the time to learn every new development every single day, but with Wappler I can add a file upload to my website and just trust that the code it is using, has been tried, tested, debugged, and scrutinised by a client base of coders. If there were something not working to perfection in it, they would be made aware of it very quickly.
Having personally built by hand a system that could take an upload on an apache web server, place the file in a temp folder, move the file to the correct folder, delete the file etc. I can attest to how long this process takes. In Wappler I could build that same site that took me almost a month in about 2 days.
The thing I love about Wappler is possibly the strangest, this community forum, where a bunch of people with various levels of skill can come together and ask questions, and get informed answers. And if they don’t within a few short hours you can just type @George, @teodor, or @patrick and they kind of have to take you seriously. It is like having a team of professional developers in my office, and I am the boss, and can shout and scream like a brat if something is not working, even when it is me not using the software correctly, I can say, well you should have added that in the software, or, if your documentation was better I would have known that. So it’s a win, win situation for me. Although I do feel bad for them at times.
In a nutshell, Wappler is fast, it helps develop rapidly, there is support, it updates and fixes issues at great speed, and best of all it has saved me hours upon hours, which gives me time and money. I can dump the payment for my form software, for my Adobe tools, for my FTP client, for my other extensions. The savings for me come to more than the cost of Wappler. Pretty soon there will be video tutorials on many topics, there will be documentation that is complete, and support for all the questions we might have.
Thank you Wappler Team for an amazing tool, and for the courage in your mammoth undertaking…