Why I decided to code for the web.

or: my journey to my late passion for the web

Stefan Schwartze


A few years ago, I started my programmer career at a technical college with specification on computer science and network technologies.

The first touch

My first touch with a programming language was with oldschool C. In the first lesson my teacher wrote a few lines, executed a little script and there it was: my first “Hello, world!”-moment. I didn’t really understand how it worked or why it worked, but it did! I was amazed: no additional programming software, just a simple text editor, well!

During this time, my skills became better and I began with a lot of theoretical lessons to understand what really happens there behind the code. Later, we continued with the more advanced object-oriented C++. The programs got more lines and more complicated algorithms, but it still was this silly and annoying simple console. I demanded for more. What was with pictures, buttons, real interfaces? A real GUI? I still couldn’t believe that one day I would code a simple calendar.

HTML looks boring

Of course, one lecture was about HTML and an my desired interface, but i wasn’t really stunned by these disgusting documents. I met HTML as a simple document with no programming factor. And: at this time, I wasn’t interested in design yet and therefore had not seen a great website where I thought: this looks so great: I wanna code my own one. The problem of the lecture was: they never mentioned anything about how to add interactivity to a webpage. Not one simple word about JavaScript. So, my first contact with HTML was nothing special. I never tried to write my own webpage at home, because I wanted to become a real programmer, not a simple writer of a document.

When my education at this college went closer to the end, I collected really many skills in C and C++ (I also programmed a real working microcontroller-powered “robotic system” that was able to avoid barricades! Yay!), heard lots of lessons about network technologies and subnetting and also coded a first little application with some buttons and graphics.

The studies

I completed the college with different feelings. I had learned a lot but didn’t really know what to do with all this knowledge. But I gave it a second chance, so I applied for computer science and media at the media univserity of applied sciences in Stuttgart. In the beginnings of my studies there weren’t many new things I hadn’t heard before, but this was my advantage. The introduction was quite simple. We coded a lot, what is still a great Plus of the university. Practice. Practice. Practice. Some time, a lecturer said to me:

Do practice. Only practice can improve your skills, so practice makes perfect.

The future goes “app”

During my studies, I slowly developed a feeling for what could be the right direction for my future. The mobile apps aroused interests and that’s the reason why I tried different operating systems to code. Android was great because it was coded in Java which was till that moment my most liked programming language, but the interfaces sucked (it was Android 2.3). Well, I’m a iPhone user since ‘08 wherefore I gave Objective-C a chance. The syntax was a disaster for me and I didn’t get warm with the thought to be dependent from a concern that wants 30% for every app and $99 for nothing. The last try was WindowsPhone. Loved the way to develop: logic with C#(had no problems to switch from Java, works almost like the same but feels so much more powerful) and interface with xml files. Great idea to separate views and logic (I know that Android and iOS are developed by the same scheme, but in the IDE for WindowsPhone it felt the first time logical and professional for me which was the reason I wanted to work with this)!

A second chance for the web?

After all this, I visited together with a fellow student (M. Hoffmann) a lecture called “media applications” which wasn’t up to date, too. We learned (and coded) all about Java Applets, servlets, JSP’s to come to the conclusion that these technologies aren’t really relevant anymore. Bad lecture. BUT: I got in contact with HTML again and got to know one more essential part for me: JavaScript! At this time, I couldn’t imagine all the possibilites of JavaScript yet, but it was coding. It was SO simple! And there was an instant result to see in the browser. Great!

During the following semester, we visited yet another lecture about the web. It was called with the promising name “mobile web applications”. The course was “Do-it-yourself”, also we had to prepare a talk about a topic which had to do with web applications and the second part was to build a little app with this knowledge. I was excited. Together we developed a webapp that only existed of JavaScript(at this time, I had almost thero JavaScript skills) and a little CSS, almost zero HTML. The result was stunning! A webapp created without any framework worked so smoothly on an iPhone. It felt like native. This was the moment when I determined that the web will be my new home. It had all what I ever was searching for:

  • graphic user interface
  • interactive (the difference to feel like a programmer, not just a document writer)
  • simple and logic
  • works on almost every device
  • no dependence to any concern

These are only a few reasons why the web is a perfect playground. Some more for you:

  • web development is simple and delivers early visible results from your work; everybody can learn it quickly
  • the web is open, it’s not owned by a company; you can do your part to move the web forward
  • it makes your content more accessible to people than on each other platform
  • there is a giant community that help’s to solve every problem that appears while development

If you ever think you want to become a programmer, take the web, it’s awesome.

This is my first post on Medium. If you have any advices or find some mistakes, feel free to correct me. If you liked it, please recommend it.



Stefan Schwartze

I am a front end developer with a passion for great things buildt for the web. www.stefanschwartze.com