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davorg (18)

Yahoo! ID: daveorguk (Add User, Send Message)

Hacker, author, trainer

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Journal of davorg (18)

Monday February 21, 2005
12:52 PM

Web Development vs Application Development

[ #23291 ]

The way I see it, the fundamental thread that runs through my entire career in IT is data manipulation. Pretty much everything I've done involves taking data from a data source, munging it in some way and sending it off to a data sink. The principles behind those tasks remain the same whether I'm extracting company annual report data and putting it into a database or extracting data from a database and sending to another process in an XML document or parsing HTML from one site to create HTML pages on another site.

Today I've been having some conversations with and agent who wants to put me forward for a job with an insurance company[1]. They want lots of Perl and Sybase experience. I explained that my Sybase might be a bit rusty (it's been three or four years since I've used it) but that I've been using other databases in the meantime and I don't expect any problems getting back up to speed quickly.

But that's not the problem. The agent doesn't think I've got enought recent "application development" experience. He thinks that recently I've been doing too much "web development".

Am I missing something obvious here? I really can't see why web development is that different to any other kind of application development. The only explanation that I can see is some kind of intellectual snobbery on the part of the "application development" people - claiming that web development is somehow less rigorous or less useful than what they do.

Which is, of course, complete bollocks :)

[1] It would be cool to get this job as it would mean working in a great building.

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  • Wow. That's an awesome looking building. I wanna work there :(

    Not knowing anything about your agent, I'd be hard-placed to say whether or not he knows his stuff, but I have met a number of folks who make a serious distinction between Web and application development. With the Web, most developers are working in a stateless environment and have to design applications which take this into account. One generally isn't working with threaded applications, creating event-driven code or building rich GUIs.


  • (This is a new account, and this is my first post on use.perl. I am an IT Director who often does 'web development' (one-click-wonders) to solve often complex problems on my employer's web sites (both internal and external). However, I used to work as an application developer (C/C++) on Solaris and SCO Unix systems.)

    ... I thought I'd point out that there is a difference in perception for a reason.

    First off - an application is a complex thing with multiple sub-functions. To be an application, however, i

  • Read this[1], this morning... could be useful to forward to your agent. The line is blurring between Web & App. Development.

    Good luck w/ your hunt! :)

    - Jason

    [1]: []
  • You are absolutely right that they are the same thing. The only reason I might not want to hire a "web development" guy is the perception that some "web development" people don't realize the reverse: that web development is application development and needs to be done to high standards.

    If you were applying at my employer I'd be pushing as hard as possible for them to bring you on. I've seen what you do well enough to know you do it to high standards. I can't believe that anyone who might have a problem

    J. David works really hard, has a passion for writing good software, and knows many of the world's best Perl programmers
  • You just write applications which have, amongst their many interfaces, a web front end. There's no reason to even talk about the web. Talk about your apps having SOAP front-ends, tk front-ends, curses front-ends, etc.

    You need to also put a link in your CV to the review that DDJ did of your Weird Hat Guy book. In that review they talk about how all your sensible advice applies to programmers in any language and any environment.