Many wannabe designers and developers find themselves confused by the meaning of the "web development" term. Fortunately, this post will shed some light, demystifying what it means to be a web designer and developer.

Web development is the process of building applications for the web, using a combination of website programming languages such as HTML, CSS, or JavaScript, as well as database structures and various user interfaces. Web developers build websites which can range in complexity from single-page sites (think portfolio websites, online business cards, etc.) to complex business applications, which can retrieve and process information for millions of users at the same time.

A website page is nothing more than a collection of data files (text, images, videos, etc.) and a set of source code files, which contain instructions that will tell browsers how to recreate, and then display that data that has been downloaded from the web.

HTML is the standard markup language used for creating website pages, instructing browsers on how to assemble, and then render the desired web pages. The most up-to-date HTML5 specification defines the HTML syntax, as well as many useful HTML tags. Programmers make use of various HTML elements (code-based building blocks) to create website pages.

CSS is a style sheet language whose purpose is to specify how HTML elements are supposed to be displayed on the screen (think text colors, fonts sizes and types, background effects, etc.). With CSS, you can define a set of styles, which will be applied to a web-based document, changing its appearance. Advanced programmers also use CSS to code special effects: animations, sepia overlays, and more.

JavaScript (shouldn't be confused with Java) is a scripting language that's used to create interactive features: dynamic sidebars, pop-ups, menus, and other similar elements. Anytime you are looking at a dynamic website page, chances are there is some JavaScript code behind it. Need to create an interactive site, or even a web-based multimedia application? Then, you'd better learn JavaScript, and use the required code snippets in your projects.

Web development is a complex discipline. We have discussed web programming so far, but website development also involves user interface design (UI), user experience design (UX), information architecture, usability engineering, and more.

While web designers tend to focus their energy on crafting graphics that look as good as possible, UX designers aim to create website interfaces that are really easy to use. When working in UX, it is important to remember that the person who is using your website is not necessarily a developer or tech-savvy. You should always design the UX in a way that makes every potential user feel comfortable.

To become a competent web developer, you must have advanced programming skills and a strong work ethic. Frontend web developers create code for the applications that are executed locally, running in browsers, while backend developers program various functions that will run on servers, delivering the needed data to front-end applications. Full-stack developers are in high demand, because they can tackle both frontend and backend projects.

People who design websites for their customers use various Content Management Systems (CMS). WordPress is by far the most popular CMS in the world, being used by almost 40% of the websites in existence. Unfortunately, this makes WordPress a very popular target for hackers, who manage to break into other people' websites by using scripts that try to log in using popular usernames such as "admin", and then test lots of common passwords, until the correct one is found. That is why it's essential for web developers to follow the best cyber security practices.




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An Introduction to Web Development