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The Secret to Being a Top Developer Is Building Things!

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21 October 2019 | by Indrek Lasn

You can only become a great developer by putting the effort in. Imagine for a moment. You can’t become physically fit by reading a lot about fitness. You actually need to go to the gym and put in the hours and sweat! The same concept applies to code.

Here are eight fantastic projects to train your coding muscles. The goal is to build each app with whatever technology stack you prefer. Keep it conflict-free, use whatever you want!

Project 1. Trello Clone

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What you’ll learn from building a Trello clone:

  • Routing
  • Drag and drop.
  • Creating new objects (boards, lists, cards).
  • Handling inputs and validation.
  • Client-side path: how to use local storage, save data to the local storage, and read data from the local storage.
  • Server-side path: how to use databases, save data to the database, and read data from the database.
  • Here’s the example Repository

    Project 2. User Admin Dashboard

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    Simple CRUD app, great for fundamentals. What you will learn:

  • Creating users, and managing users.
  • Interacting with a database — creating, reading, editing, and deleting users.
  • Input validation and how to work with forms.
  • Github Repository

    Project 3. Cryptocurrency Tracker (Native Mobile App)

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    Has to be a native app — Swift, Objective-C, React Native, Java, and Kotlin are allowed.

    What you will learn:

  • How native apps work.
  • Fetching data from an API.
  • How native layouts work.
  • How to work with mobile simulators.
  • Use this API
    In case you’re interested in how this was built, I wrote a tutorial for it

    Project 4. Setup Your Very Own Webpack Config From Scratch

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    Well, technically this is not an app, but it’s still extremely useful to understand how webpack works under the hood. No longer will it be a “black box”, but a strong tool under your belt.

    Requirements:

  • Compile es7 to es5 (basics).
  • Compile .jsx to .js, or, .vue to .js (you will learn about loaders).
  • Setup of webpack dev server and hot module reloading. (vue-cli and create-react-app use both.)
  • Make a production-ready build, and deploy it using Heroku, now.sh or GitHub pages. (You will learn how to deploy webpack projects.)
  • Setup your favorite preprocessor to compile to plain CSS — SCSS, Less, Stylus.
  • Learn how to use images and SVGs with webpack.
  • Here’s a great resource to getting started for absolute beginners.

    Project 5. Hacker News Clone

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    Everyone has built their own version of Hacker News — let’s not be an exception.

    What you will learn is the following:

  • Interacting with the Hacker News API.
  • Creating single-page apps.
  • How to implement features, such as viewing comments, single comments, and profiles.
  • Routing.
  • Here’s the Hacker News API documentation.

    Project 6. To-do App

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    Really? A to-do app? How many of these are there already? Yes — I know. But hear me out — there’s a reason why they’re so popular.

    A to-do app is a great way to ensure you learn the fundamentals. Try building it with plain vanilla JavaScript, and then one with your favorite framework/library.

    What you will learn

  • Creating new tasks.
  • Validating fields.
  • Filtering tasks (completed, active, all). Make use of filter and reduce functions.
  • Understanding the fundamentals of JavaScript.
  • TodoMVC

    Project 7. A Sortable Drag and Drop List

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    It’s very useful to understand the drag and drop API. It makes you really stand out from the rest if you’re able to create complex apps.

    What you will learn:

  • Drag and drop API.
  • Creating rich UIs.
  • Project 8. A Messenger Clone (Native App)

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    Understanding how native apps and web apps work will make you stand out from the crowd.

    What you will learn:

  • Web sockets (instant messaging).
  • How native apps work.
  • How layouts work in native.
  • Routing for native apps.
  • Conclusion

    These should keep you busy for a month or two, pick something and just build it! In case you need a little motivation push to get started, here’s a guide on how to stay motivated as a developer.

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