Over the past several months, I’ve been looking at job listings for web designers and/or developers because that’s what I called myself over the course of 11+ years when the web was my sole focus. Seems there aren’t a lot of listings for such positions these days. Everyone wants someone with UI or UX experience, or a full-stack developer, or someone who specializes in web apps, not websites. I was beginning to feel like a bit of a dinosaur, but then I dug a little deeper and discovered that in many cases, it seems to be more about terminology rather than my lack of a particular skillset.

Back around the turn of the century, I started building websites, but it wasn’t long before I was knee-deep in what today is called a web app. Seems we had a client who wanted to display greeting cards, let her users choose one, pick a font, enter their personalized text and then, with the click of a button, have it render as a jpeg so they could get a visual of their finished product. Not a big deal today, but 20+ years ago, it was something.

Our VB programmer wrote the code to pull the fonts and create the text rendering. I was responsible for creating the front-end database to store all the blank cards our client offered, the available fonts, the number of lines each card could reasonably hold in a pre-defined area – limited to about 10-12 formats but shared by dozens of cards – and the pricing information for each card. Once the “Preview” button was clicked, the back-end database I built fired up.

Using Classic ASP pages, I took the cards her users selected along with all their font/text input and their rendered jpeg file, pouring it all into a MySQL database I designed to hold everything. Again, using Classic ASP, I built an interface that our client could use to see who had ordered what and then print them for her customers. We also handled the payment processing using AuthNet, so it was truly a turnkey solution for our client.

And not many folks reading this will remember, but back when we pulled this off, only a few people had broadband internet connections. Most had dialup service using standard phone lines running at 56kbps – at best – so we had to design as elegantly as we could by writing lightweight code, being mindful of cross-browser compatibility and creating optimized graphics using the old web-safe color palette to ensure a pleasant experience.

So given all of this, I’m not exactly sure, but I suspect that this build – in today’s terms in and of itself – might just entitle me to say that I’m a full-stack UI/UX web app software engineer. Ultimately though, I’ll leave that up to you.

2K20 Digital LLC Logo

Need help with your website? Contact us at 2K20 Digital!