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Web Application Development Tools - What is a Web Application Stack?

Do you have an idea for a web app, but don't have the programming knowledge or the budget to hire a developer? In this article, we'll discuss the main tools you'll need to build the first version of your app. You don't need to be an expert, but you do need to learn the basics.

To start with, you need an application stack. What's that? It's the main software that will power your app. Most people use the LAMP stack. This stands for Linux, Apache, MySQL,and PHP.

Linux is the operating system and Apache is the web server. You don't have to know much about these to build a basic web app. Just know that you'll need them.

MySQL is the Database Management System (DMS). This is where you'll store your user's data. Don't worry if you don't know what this is. Just keep in mind that you'll need to learn the basics of MySQL - at least how to create a database and user.

PHP is the server-side programming language. You use this to create the business logic for your app. You don't have to be a programming expert, but you do need to know the basics. You don't have to program everything from scratch though. Instead, make use of a PHP application framework, such as CodeIgniter. This lets you concentrate on creating the specific code for your app, instead of the low-level code that's included in every web app.

LAMP is your basic application stack, but you also need to know some other technologies. One is HTML5/CSS3. These let you create your user interface. Again, you don't have to be an expert to start building your web app. You just need to know the basics.

But you don't want to create your user interface from scratch. There is no reason to do that. You should use a front-end framework, such as Bootstrap. This is a library of user interface elements, such as forms, tables, alerts, and more. You can use this framework to make your app look professional.

You can build a web app using just these technologies, but if you want to build a better, more modern app, you should also learn JavaScript (a client-side programming language) as well as some JavaScript libraries, such as jQuery.

These will make your app look more like a desktop app, which people expect these days. Again, it's not necessary, but you can learn the basics of these technologies to really take your app to the next level.

No doubt this sounds like a lot of work. But you don't have to become an expert in all these technologies to create your first web app. Just spend a couple days on each technology, and then start creating your app. If you need to learn something else, you can pick it up as you go.


Read my web application development eBook. In the book, we build a sample web app step-by-step using PHP, MySQL, HTML5, Bootstrap, JavaScript, jQuery, Knockout, and more.

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