The treadmill desk has been created

I wrote the following post some time ago about me buying a new treadmill and why I brought a normal treadmill as opposed to buying a treadmill desk …

http://www.jamesbarnsley.com/site/2014/11/29/new-treadmill-way-on-its-way/

I mentioned at the bottom of the post that I may make my very own treadmill desk as the standard treadmill desks that are available only go up to a certain speed which is quite slow and I did not want to reach a plateau with my weight loss.

Normal treadmills can go much faster than the treadmill desks that you can buy and as I may need to turn up the intensity of my workouts I opted for getting a normal treadmill rather than a treadmill desk as both are expensive and I could only get one or the other.

For those of you who do not know a treadmill desk is half desk and half treadmill which you can buy from professional companies which produce them. They look like this …

treadmill-desk-consumer

Since the time of purchasing my treadmill I have noticed how easy it is to get bored whilst walking on it and I liked the idea of having a desk so I could go on my laptop whilst I am walking. Anyways I decided to make my own and with the help of my Dad we got this assembled …

treadmill-desk

Ladies and gentlemen, my very own treadmill desk! As you can see it is created from a couple of wall brackets from B&Q and a piece of “offcut” wood purchased from the industrial estate timber yard next door to where I work.

“Offcut” wood is the throw away wood that was left over when they cut the wood for their customers etc, this is generally sold for a couple of pounds. The whole desk cost me around £20 to make and it is detachable from the wall and can be stored away if so desired.

The angle of the photo I have taken makes the desk look quite thin but the photo does not actually do it justice as it plenty big enough to put my laptop on as well as some other stuff.

So far I am enjoying my treadmill desk as it means I can do more walking without getting bored. I can even do tasks whilst walking, in fact this blog post was written whilst I was walking on my treadmill desk.

Front-end vs back-end development

Is there such a thing as front-end vs back-end development in today’s web development world? How much do these cross over and even into other roles entirely? What is front-end developer or a back-end developer expected to know or do?

Well there is no easy answer to all of these questions, with today’s expectations both front-end and back-end developers have a lot expected of them. In very basic terms we could say the roles are briefly defined as follows …

Front-end developer

Expected to know HTML, CSS and be good at graphic design.

Back-end developer

Expected to know how to create databases and PHP.

Ok so that is defined very basically, now I will take into consideration all of the criteria not mentioned for each of these roles below …

Front-end developer

Based on the above we could also add the following as potential criteria to the Front-end developer role …

  1. Expected to know CMS systems such as WordPress.
  2. Expected to know front-end frameworks such as Twitter Bootstrap for example.
  3. Expected to know Javascript.
  4. Expected to know any number of Javscript frameworks such as JQuery, KnockoutJS etc.
  5. Expected to know any number of CSS frameworks that are available such as Less, SASS etc.
  6. As mentioned earlier, expected to know graphic design even though graphic design is a completely different discipline altogether.
  7. Expected to know server side templating languages, for example Smarty.
  8. May be expected to know a bit about server side languages so they can incorporate the HTML templates into the web app.
  9. Expected to know about SEO so the website can be coded to accommodate the SEO.

Back-end developer

Based on the above we could also add the following as potential criteria to the Back-end developer role, the first 6 bullet points are the same as the front-end developer role but are still valid, this is the cross over between roles I was talking about and how it blurs the lines between front-end and back-end development …

  1. Expected to know CMS systems such as WordPress.
  2. Expected to know front-end frameworks such as Twitter Bootstrap for example.
  3. Expected to know Javascript.
  4. Expected to know any number of Javscript frameworks such as JQuery, KnockoutJS etc.
  5. Expected to know any number of CSS frameworks that are available such as Less, SASS etc.
  6. Expected to know server side templating languages, for example Smarty.
  7. Expected to know HTML and CSS.
  8. Expected to know any number of backend frameworks, for PHP this would be frameworks like Laravel, Yii etc.
  9. Expected to know any number of database environments and their associated query languages for example MySQL / SQL, MongoDB / BSON etc.
  10. Expected to know any number of code libraries.
  11. Expected to know how to use version control systems such as Git, BitBucket etc.
  12. Expected to know any number of backend languages including all their frameworks and libraries. For example back-end developer could know C# but also PHP.
  13. Expected to know how to create and manage web servers.

So there is probably a lot more that I have not thought about or mentioned but that just about sums it up for now. You can see there is a big cross over between the skills especially in the area of Javascript. Javascript as a language is nothing like coding HTML but Front-end developers can still be expected to know Javascript.

Back-end developers can still be expected to use HTML even though they are Back-end developers. You also have to appreciate that most of these skills are multi-disciplinary and each skill in its own right could take a vast amount of hours to learn and maintain properly.

For example Javascript developer should be a role in its own right. Graphic designer should be a role in its own right. Web server administrator should be a role in its own right. Learning a single web framework like Laravel should be a role in its own right. Not one developer learning multiple frameworks.

The way the skills are listed above in the bullet points make them sound easy and degrades the time and effort it takes to learn the skills properly. However employers list the skills in the same manner as above in job descriptions they send out to potential candidates.

No one could learn all of those skills and be proficient in all of them. The time it takes to maintain such skills would be too much for one person to accomplish if taken to the degree of mastery.

Maybe some employers know this and do not expect the developer to be a master at all of them. Maybe some employers just copy other employers job descriptions without knowing that the other employer did not expect the developer to be a master at all of them.

Any employers listing too many skills that a developer should be a master at should be looked upon as not being very grounded in reality and taken with a pinch of salt. It is not just the time to learn the skill but to maintain them as well.

These technologies are constantly evolving and there is a lot of maintenance time involved as well. To be a master the skill has to be maintained and as mentioned earlier there is no way in reality that one person could be a master at all of them.