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What do Lego and Web Development have in Common?

Article by John Reeve

Godtfred Kirk Christiansen patented the Lego brick in 1958. Such a simple concept would go on to define the toy industry, and most of our childhoods. I was, and still am, a Lego fanatic. Playing with Lego contributed heavily to my working in Web development.

Now that I have two boys who also love Lego, the bins are down from the garage and new creations are hatching from our collective minds every day. It got me thinking, wow, there are a lot of parallels between what I do as a Web developer and Lego. Here are some thoughts on how playing with Lego is a lot like developing for the Web.

Develop using basic building blocks


The Lego brick is a very simple concept, from which stems every Lego piece in existence today. It’s a lot like a programming language with basic loops and conditional constructs, from which stems frameworks and libraries. Reusable code can be assembled in an infinite number of variations, morphing into web sites and web-based applications.

The Basic Lego BrickWe rarely see the humble Lego brick in the spotlight, but we parade clever Lego creations through the Internet. When we develop for the web it about the types of bricks we are using β€” PHP, Python, or Ruby. We celebrate the end results, the beautifully developed web sites and web-based applications we use in our day-to-day.

Develop anything you want β€” simple or complex


Us Web developers can create anything we want with just a computer and our fingertips. Just like Lego, we can develop something basic and simple, like an online to-do list / task manager. Or, we can develop more advanced web-based applications to help manage complex problems. There is no limit to what we can build with Lego bricks or develop with web-based programming languages.

Lego bricks have been used to build everything from squat and square cars to four-wheel drive trucks with independent suspension. The specific details depend on the developer and what they are trying to accomplish.