Technology plays a huge role in our daily lives, from the simplest of apps to the most groundbreaking inventions.
Every website or piece of software that we encounter has been built by a developer—but what exactly is web development, and what do they do?
In this blog, we’ll go through the basics of web development, and the essential skills and tools.
What is Web Development?
Web development is the process of building websites and applications for the internet, or a private network known as an intranet.
Web development is not concerned with the design of a website; rather, it’s all about the coding and programming that powers the website’s functionality.
From the most simple, static web pages to social media platforms and apps, from e-commerce websites to content management systems (CMS)—all the tools we use via the internet daily have been built by developers.
Types of web development
Web development can be of three types: client-side coding (frontend), server-side coding (backend) and database technology.
Let’s take a look at each of these types in more detail.
Client-side scripting, or frontend development, refers to everything that the end user experiences directly. Client-side code executes in a web browser and directly relates to what people see when they visit a website. Things like layout, fonts, colors, menus and contact forms are all driven by the front end.
Server-side scripting, or backend development, is all about what goes on behind the scenes.
The backend is essentially part of a website that the user doesn’t see. It is responsible for storing and organizing data, and ensuring that everything on the client side runs smoothly. It does this by communicating with the front end.
Whenever something happens on the client side—say, a user fills a form—the browser sends a request to the server side. The server-side “responds” with relevant information in the form of frontend code that the browser can then interpret and display.
Websites also rely on database technology. The database contains all the files and content that are necessary for a website to function, it stores the data in such a way that is easy to retrieve, organize, edit, and save. The database runs on a server, and most websites typically use a relational database management system (RDBMS).
Summary of the types: The frontend, backend, and database technology all work together to build and run a fully functional website or application, and these three layers form the foundation of web development.
The difference between web development and web design
You might hear the terms “web development” and “web design” used interchangeably, but these are two very different things.
Imagine a web designer and web developer working together to build a car: the developer would take care of all the functional components, like the engine, the wheels and the gears, while the designer would be responsible for both the visual aspects—how the car looks, the layout of the dashboard, the design of the seats—and for the user experience provided by the car, so whether or not it’s a smooth drive.
Web designers design how the website looks and feels. They model the layout of the website, making sure it’s logical, user-friendly and pleasant to use.
Web design also considers the information architecture of the website, establishing what content will be included and where it should be placed.
In short, a web designer is an architect, while a web developer is a builder or engineer.
A brief history of the world wide web
World Wide Web, which is also known as the Web, is a collection of websites or web pages stored in web servers and connected to local computers through the internet. These websites contain text pages, digital images, audio, videos, etc and the users can access the content of these sites from any part of the world over the internet using their devices such as computers, laptops, cell phones, etc
The web as we know it today has been decades in the making. To understand how web development works, let’s go back to where it all started and consider how the internet has evolved over the years.
1965: The first WAN (Wide Area Network)
The internet is essentially a network of networks, connecting all different WANs. Later on, this WAN would be known as ARPANET
1969: The first-ever internet message
In October 1969, UCLA student Charley Kline sent the first ever internet message.
The 1970s: The rise of the LAN (Local Area Network)
The early 70s saw the development of several experimental LAN technologies. Some notable milestones include the development of Ethernet at Xerox Parc from 1973-1974 and the development of ARCNET in 1976.
1982 – 1989: Transmission Control Protocol (TCP), Internet Protocol (IP), the Domain Name System and Dial-Up Access
In 1982, Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and Internet Protocol (IP) emerged as the ARPANET protocol, and TCP/IP remains the standard internet protocol today.
In 1983, the Domain Name System was established, providing a more user-friendly way of labeling and designating websites (i.e. careerfoundry.com). In 1987, Cisco shipped its first router, and in 1989, World.std.com became the first commercial provider of dial-up internet access.
1990: Tim Berners-Lee and HTML
In 1990, Tim Berners-Lee, a scientist at CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research developed HTML and it became, and still is, a fundamental building block of the internet.
1991: The World Wide Web Goes Mainstream
With the rise of the visual internet browser, the World Wide Web made its way into the mainstream. As of 2018, there are more than 4 billion internet users around the globe.
What does a web developer do?
The role of the web developer is to build and maintain websites. Web developers can work in-house or freelance, and the specific tasks and responsibilities involved will vary depending on what kind they’ll be.
Web developers are responsible for building a product that meets both the client’s needs and those of the customer or end user.
A large part of web development also revolves around identifying and fixing bugs to constantly optimize and improve a website or system.
All web developers are proficient in certain programming languages. However, different developers will work with different languages depending on their specific job titles and area of expertise.
What does a front-end developer do?
It is the frontend developer’s job to code the front end of a website or application; that is, the part of the website that the user sees and interacts with.
The frontend developer implements the website’s layout, interactive and navigational elements such as buttons and scrollbars, images, content and internal links (links that navigate from one page to another within the same website).
Frontend developers carry out usability tests and fix any bugs that arise. At the same time, they will consider SEO best practices, maintain software workflow management, and develop tools that enhance how the user interacts with a website in any browser.
What does a backend developer do?
The backend developer is responsible for building and maintaining the technology needed to power the front end, consisting of three parts: a server, an application, and a database.
The code that backend developers create ensures that everything the frontend developer builds is fully functional, and it is the backend developer’s job to make sure that the server, application, and database all communicate with each other.
They use server-side languages such as PHP, Ruby, Python and Java to build the application. Then they use tools like MySQL, Oracle, and SQL Server to find, save or edit data and deliver it back to the user in frontend code.
Backend developers are also responsible for testing and debugging any backend elements of a system or application.
What does a full-stack developer do?
A full-stack developer is someone who understands and can work across, the “full stack” of technology: i.e. both the frontend and the backend.
Full stack developers are experts in every stage of the web development process, meaning they are well-equipped to get hands-on, but can also guide on strategy and best practices.
Web developers and software engineers may also specialize in mobile app development, either for iOS or Android.
iOS developers build apps that run with the iOS operating system—the one used by Apple devices. They use the Swift programming language that Apple created specifically for their apps.
Android developers build apps that are compatible with all Android devices, such as Samsung smartphones. Java was the official programming language for Android but has since been replaced by Kotlin, which was the new kid on the block.
Programming languages, libraries, and frameworks
To build websites and apps, web developers work with languages, libraries, and frameworks.
Let’s take a look at each of these in detail, as well as some other tools that web developers use in their day-to-day work.
What are languages?
In the world of web development, languages are the building blocks that programmers use to create websites, apps and software. There are all different types of languages, including programming languages, markup languages, style sheet languages, and database languages.
Markup languages are used to specify the formatting of a text file.
The two most popular markup languages are HTML and XML.
Style sheet languages
A style sheet is a set of stylistic rules. Style sheet languages are used, quite literally, to style documents that are written in markup languages.
CSS can be used to add colors, change fonts, insert backgrounds and borders, as well as to style forms. CSS is also used to optimize web pages for responsive design, ensuring they adapt their layout to whatever device the user is on.
Databases are used to store huge volumes of data. Example MySQL, SQL.
What are libraries and frameworks?
Web developers also work with libraries and frameworks.
Libraries and frameworks are essentially sets of prewritten code, but libraries are smaller and tend to be used for more specific use cases. A library contains a collection of useful code, grouped to be reused later. The purpose of a library is to enable developers to reach the same end goal while writing less code to get there.
A framework contains ready-made components and tools that enable the developer to write code faster, and many frameworks also contain libraries. Some popular frameworks include Bootstrap, Rails, and Angular.
Other web development tools
Web developers also use a text editor, such as Atom, Sublime or Visual Studio Code, to write their code; a web browser, such as Chrome or Firefox.
Readers today these much only.Hope You understand the concept behind web development. See you in the next blog.