Shai Almog

@Codename_One

Java Full Stack In Practice — Building a Mobile Startup

I’m going to build a new mobile startup using Java (full stack) within 2 weeks and teach some of you how that is done while doing that. You might assume I’m talking about one of those “MVP” cardboard startups… This isn’t the case! 
We’ll build a real ground breaking app with a server component that handles storage, push and a few other things you wouldn’t expect and I plan to fit the whole thing in a two week time frame.

This is essentially what I said in the last two posts in this series. We’ll build the full stack of a real world startup from the ground. Server to mobile client to production within 2 weeks of hard work!

But before I get into that I’d like to discuss some of the feedback I got on the last post.

Full Stack != Jack of all Trades, Master of None

Having familiarity and the ability to get into any part of the stack has made me a better developer in the areas of my specialty. I specialize in VM and client technologies but I can still build a server.

I would not market myself as a “Java EE engineer”. Domain specialty is still crucial if you want to reach true scale and build quality. However, understanding the domain well enough gives you a “sense of the scope of your ignorance”. To put it in the terms of someone who I can’t believe I’m quoting:

…because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns — the ones we don’t know we don’t know.

Or to put it differently, I’m not a designer and never will be. However, learning Photoshop and the basics of design has helped me tremendously! 
It bridged the gap that I felt with designers, I understand their terms better and can communicate with them using their own terms. I get better design work as a result as I can express my desires and have a better understanding of what is good design.

So doing full stack is useful in a startup that’s building its first product. It’s also remarkably useful for enterprise developers who sometimes feel lost and buried within their niche. It gives you a level of visibility to interact with developers in a different tier and get a better product overall.

Why Build a Startup?

So I already have a startup I don’t actually need to build another one but I think that building a startup is probably the best way to teach something.

Over the past 20+ years I worked for startups, major software/hardware companies, operators, banks and much more… I founded 4 companies during this time and every time I did it the process became easier. Codename One is a huge product so it’s not something I would compare to “an app”. However, the basic product we launched as beta took 3 months to build and we spent too much of that debating the “launch slide deck”.

Unlike that effort, building an app is almost trivial when you know how… The server side will be relatively simple as it won’t include the web interface portions that are always a pain. Just very basic storage, push and simple management.

The big effort that will take most of the time is making the apps look good and applying a compelling design.

With the upcoming bootcamp I want you to see how easy it is to build a startup and a complex mobile app. But the bigger goal is to flip a switch that would hopefully be as transformational for you as it would be for me. I want to recreate the startup experience as part of the bootcamp, that’s something you can’t do in a course. 
Every startup I worked at even as a consultant had affected me on an emotional level and I hope this will leave you in a similar energized state and motivated to “take on the world”.

What’s Next?

I hope I’ve inspired you to look into Java when building quick solutions as well as the more mature enterprise grade solutions. I also hope you try building such rapid full scale apps even as an educational experiment.

I’m going to teach how to do that in a more intensive bootcamp. If you are interested check out our website as the registration will open on Monday March 8th (next week) at noon and places are limited as I will spend 1 on 1 time with everyone.

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