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How Our Students Build Apps: Letter to Potential Student

Doug Calhoun

From a letter to a potential developer about what we teach:

I have to give you a brief history of the web in order to answer your question fully. In the beginning, the web was a way to access HTML documents that were linked to each other. These documents were unchanging, simple things, like a Word document, and you mostly got them from the computers of other, normal humans.

Later, computers got awesome enough that we could generate these documents on the fly, and customize the document for each user by smashing together an HTML template and a bunch of data from a database. This meant more complicated software, developed by experts, and the computers that ran this software were called "servers". Still, when you wanted to see a new page, you'd ask the server for another HTML document.

Recently, computers got awesome enough that these HTML documents (using Javascript) can be incredibly complicated and interactive, and you can actually let users do most normal things without their going back and getting another HTML document from the server. (Users prefer this, because while you wait for the new document, your screen blinks white and you have to wait a little bit.) Servers are still around, holding onto data, but these days many sites get the data into the HTML using Javascript.

Our students learn to build complete, interactive web applications using this newer methodology. We chose it because it's forward-looking, it's a smaller skill set than server-based methodologies, and because it's very in-demand.