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What is Web Development

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Web development is a cognitive and iterative process. Web development can mean two things, it can refer to;

  • the entire process of conceptualising, planning, designing, implementing and testing a website
  • or it can refer to the subset of the process that covers feature development

To most people it seems logical that web development be thought of as the entire process. However, most web professionals tend to think of web development as all the non-design and non-SEO aspects of the web development process. Since we are mostly developers at SideClick, we tend to agree with the second point of view. At SideClick, we are solution developers and rely heavily on our web development superskills. Most web developers get their hands dirty with the following;

  • Solution conceptualisaion and design
  • Implementing website designs in HTML, CSS and Javascript
  • Inregrating the website with 3rd party applications
  • Implementing interactive features using JQuery or other Javascript libraries
  • LAMP customisation
  • Database integration
  • Asynchronous features using AJAX

Web development is focussed primarily on backend development - the development of features that the user cannot necessarily see. For example; if we have a website with a secure area that requires a user to login - the web designer may design the login page and specify the "styles" for the the input fields, background etc and the web developer will ensure that the user logging in is properly authenticated and directed to the appropriate resource. Web developers also ensure that unauthenticated users are not able to access resources that are restricted. In addition, the web developer will also take precautions to ensure that passwords are protected by hashing or encrypting them before they are stored in the database. This illustrates that something as simple as "logging in" actually requires a substantial amount of development. Any developer worth his/her salt will employ techniques to minimize the cost to the client - typically code re-use and bundling of common features.

Since web technologies are changing rapidly it is very important for developers to keep in touch with current trends in the industry. A good example of this paradigm in action is Responsive Web Design. The term was only coined in May 2010 and by mid 2013 it was already considered the top trend in web design. This rapid progression from concept to mainstream adoption is typical of the web development industry. Web developers will usually spend a fair portion of their time researching new methods, technologies and techniques to ensure they remain ahead of this curve.

There are also some fundamental basics that all web developers should know in order to function as part of a broader web development team. Web developers often depend entirely on web designers to deliver a website design and web designers depend on developers to transform the design into a functional website. Web developers should having a working knowledge of the popular design applications and creative suites. While some designers like to get their hands dirty with HTML and CSS, other prefer not to. Web developers are often expected to use Photoshop to "slice" a web design and implement it in HTML.

Web development is a vital cog in the web development machine. A good web developer can be invaluable in realising website/web applications primary goals.