Surfing the internet has become something that can be down right annoying.
When I open my favorite feed reader (or any web app really) in the browser I start to ask questions.
I wonder how they are getting the info from the database?
If this were a Rails app would this be an index, show, edit or new page?
Before I started this class at the Iron Yard I would notice the cool things that people were doing on websites and think, “wow that’s cool,” but I felt hampered by what I didn’t know, so I never really asked the “how did they do this” question.
As a web developer I now feel like it is my duty to ask the question “how” when I am looking at other people’s work.
However as a regular, non technical user, a person shouldn’t have to ask any questions. Things should just work.
The interesting thing now is that I can usually associate what I am doing on a web page with an action on the back-end. Maybe not in how the actual web app I am using is accomplishing that task, but rather how I would approach the task if I were to build it into an application of my own.
As much thinking as is required in this process, (and our brains are already tired) I believe it is a good idea for developers (especially those who are still learning) to, from time to time, simply look at a web app and say, “if I was going to build this app, how would I do it?”
There is an advertisement for Dos Equis that puts this idea pretty well. It says, “Stay thirsty my friends.” At the end of the day I think that is what it is. Staying inquisitive. Trying to figure things out. Working through how you would approach a problem if it was presented to you.
You don’t have to actually build an entire web app to learn. Look at the great work of others and then imitate it, either in your own application or on a piece of paper. Learn from what other web developers are doing well. Then do it yourself.
At the end of the day, how we think about products and projects is basically a conglomeration of how we’ve thought about products and projects in the past.
Do yourself a favor. Ask the question how.