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Interesting algorithms in web development?

6:59 am on Jul 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I'm an electronics engineer by education(M.sc.).Recently, I've started a new job as a PHP and jQuery developer in a company that develops web applications for banks and the stock market.

There's no doubt that web development is very complex in the technical aspect.There are tons of the technical subtleties you need to know in handling forms,using databases,parsing strings, running jquery and configuring Apache.However, I cannot help wondering how often do you encounter interesting algorithms in the area of PHP and jQuery...There is of course the example of Google, whose algorithms are a whole scientific field, but I don't know if its the case in most sites...

I presume some of you worked in development of desktop applications with C++/C# or something of that kind.Do you find the same level of intellectual challenge in the area of the web?

Despite my background in hardware, I don't mind working in software as long as its interesting...I'm just wondering whether this job is right for me or not.

Thanks for your opinion in advance.
8:38 am on July 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

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You could look into:

* Bot blocking
* Form spam
* Fraud attempts
* Hack attempts
9:43 am on July 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Sorry, regular web work is boring rote coding.

I used to work in hardware device drivers, database internals. etc. and it was was more interesting and paid out bigger long term but you can generate more cash quicker generating web apps
12:16 pm on July 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

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It's about job satifaction, imho, not about what you're actually doing. Of course, if you hate what you're doing, then that's time to move on.

When developing one part of a site you may not see the overall picture, but you may glean satisfaction from knowing that your part of the development achieved success in the project as a whole.

When I was a kid, the computer programming class was the first of its kind. We wrote very simple programs run on mainframe computers with punched tape, 300 baud modems, etc. We ran the tape through the reader, waited, and the answer printed back on the remote terminal from the mainframe, 'hello world.' It was exciting.
Over time, we moved on to more sophisticated programs, and were focused on creating part of a program for a team. This required a different level of dedication as the end result was not all my own work. If someone else had written bad code the program didn't run. So we all worked together to analyse other students code.
Subsequent to that, I too moved into hardware as I always enjoyed making things. Similarly, as a student, I either made the whole thing myself, such as a radio transmitter or receiver, or we got involved in part of the design and manufacturing of a complete system, where one would make the main amp, another would work on a pre-amp, another would work on the oscillator, another on the receiver, etc. It was great to see the whole thing come together to make the end result. As a student, it wasn't quite job satisfaction, it was project satisfaction. For me, it was about knowing that my part worked, and the overall project worked, too.

If you're questioning it already, and that feeling doesn't go away relatively quickly, then it's possibly the wrong path.
12:33 pm on July 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Even for the most laborious of tasks, always aim to write great code that you just want to frame and put up on the wall!

I still get the same satisfaction from rolling out PHP as I did working out I2C bus alogos on embedded microcontrollers back in the 90's.

The grind of web development coding can be somewhat mitigated of course by creating your own libraries that you then go on to use in future projects meaning you can get into the meat of the application far more quickly.
5:17 pm on July 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

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It's not the algorithms or coding or programming that keeps life interesting. It's the result, the former is just a means to an end. It changes peoples' lives, that's what keeps me hacking away.