Web development is an important industry in this day and age, when accessing websites, apps and software via the internet is more common than ever before. Although, with an increasing number of sophisticated site builders and content management systems on the market, some see the role of a web developer diminishing. However, this isn’t necessarily the case – they will always be important for creating websites from scratch and adapting software that utilises the most modern coding and prioritises user experience.
As the tech world continues to grow, there is so much to consider when it comes to web development, so you may be wondering what is web development and how does it work? In this guide, we will run through the answers to these questions.
What is web development?
Web development is the process of building websites and applications for the internet. This includes the writing of computer language, also known as code, which is needed for devices to communicate information with each other and perform their intended operations smoothly.
Don’t confuse web development with website development. Web development can involve website development, but website development refers specifically to creating websites on the internet. Web development, on the other hand, is a catch-all term that refers to the development of all types of websites, software, programmes and applications, including mobile apps, desktop software, and video games.
How does web development work?
There are two main layers to web development that allow us to easily break down how web development works. Firstly, there is front-end development. This is referring to the development of everything that the user experiences, including the layout, menus and design. This type of code executes in a web browser to create an interface that helps a website visitor achieve their goal on the site.
However, this is not to be confused with web design. A web designer is a separate role from a web developer. A web designer is more likely to design what they think is the most user-friendly interface for the user, including things like colours, fonts, bars and menus. However, a web designer tends not to have the coding expertise to create this themselves, so this is the job of the front-end developer to execute. Having said this, web design is a vital part of web development and it’s possible for web developers to be apt at web design.
But, it’s no good having a beautiful and accurately-coded frontend without adequate server-side scripting. This is called back-end development and is the part of a website that we, the user, do not see when visiting a website. It’s responsible for storing and organising data and ensuring that the front-end runs smoothly by communicating with it. It manages the code for security, content and site architecture.
When the user does something on the website (for example, clicking on a menu, submitting a form or buying a product), the browser sends a request to the back-end, which responds with relevant information in front-end code. The browser is then able to interpret and display this information to the user. Back-end developers work with servers, operating systems and APIs to collaborate with front-end developers to bring the website, program or software to life.
Back-end developers also take into consideration knowledge of database technology. Databases contain all the files that are needed for a website to function, storing them so that they can be easily retrieved, organised, edited and saved by the web developer and therefore, the website itself. Databases run on servers.
The role of full-stack developers
Although these two aspects of web development can be separated, web developers are often able to do both. People who do this are called full-stack developers. They can create the website, app or software program from start to finish. They have an all-around knowledge of coding that they develop through years in the field, helping them to optimise performance, troubleshoot problems before they occur and pass on their knowledge to different team members to understand different parts of web service. This is considered a highly valuable role and is well sought out.
The actual ins and outs of what a web developer does will depend on what they are creating, be it an eCommerce website, social media app or video game. It often includes an in-depth planning process and sitemap creation before writing the code and finding a server to host it. This is not to mention the many different types of codes and databases that web developers have to be familiar with and choose from.
We know web development can be a minefield and that’s why our experienced Web Developers are here to help, giving you one less thing to worry about. Check out what web development services we can offer for you and your business. Prefer to talk over the phone? No problem, give us a call (we do love a chat!).