What You Should Know About Web Development
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Web Development is the creation and maintenance of websites and applications for the internet. This discipline encompasses web publishing, programming, and database management. It focuses on coding and programming to control the look and functionality of a website.
Web development can also include the creation of social media platforms, e-commerce sites, and content management systems (CMS). People who build websites and web applications for a living are called web developers.
If you don’t have any exposure to web development, the whole concept may seem complex and confusing. But learning the basics of web development will help demystify it and make it more comprehensible
Here are some things you should know about web development:
A website consists of files stored on servers. These servers are supercomputers connected to an intricate network called the internet.
For websites to load up on your computer, tablet, or phone, you will need a computer program called a browser (e.g. Chrome, Internet Explorer) to load the website on your device.
The Two Sides of Web Development
One of the basic concepts in Web Development is learning that a website has two major categories: front-end and back-end.
The Front- end is often called client-side because it is the side of a website or software that interacts with the user. It governs the components that create the user experience (UX). The components include site layout, dropdown menus, connections, buttons, and pages. The front-end side of web development ensures that users can carry out actions like playing videos, paying bills, buying products, and filling out forms, etc.
The Back-end is called the server-side of web development, which users do not see when they access the website. It is the digital infrastructure that makes a website function. The back-end side deals with the servers tasked to deliver information upon request. It also encompasses networks, hosting, and databases.
The Back -end side is where all data is stored, and databases are the ones that store and arrange data. Back-end developers use other frameworks like AWS or Azure to maintain a database. They also ensure the smooth management, manipulation, and retrieval of data.
If you’re not a developer, you may view the the back-end side as a collection of random symbols, letters, and numbers. However, these symbols follow a certain structure and order. They are part of specific back-end coding languages that communicate with computers.
For websites to appear and work properly, programmers need to use computer languages to communicate. Coding languages can fall into the front-end or back-end.
Common Front- End Languages:
HTML – This stands for Hypertext Markup Language (HTML). Learning HTML allows you to design the basic structure of web pages. Developers use HTML tags to create the skeleton of the website.
CSS – This stands for Cascading Style Sheets. This design language allows pages to look visually pleasing. Developers use CSS to “dress up and style” the website.
Common Back-end Languages:
- PHP – (Hypertext Preprocessor) is a scripting language that develops dynamic and interactive websites.
- Java – This is a favorite among developers because of its scalable nature
- Python – This is a popular language because it allows developers to integrate systems quickly and efficiently.
Web developers can choose an area of specialization – front-end or back-end, but others become full-stack developers. A full-stack developer is familiar with both sides of web development and can work on them.
There are always threats from parties who want to steal data and private information from websites. This is why cybersecurity is a critical part of web development. Cybersecurity refers to actions of securing data of websites, networks, and computers.
One aspect of cybersecurity in websites is managing authentication. The process of user authentication involves permitting users to sign in or out or execute some actions based on their account.
Website administrators and developers are responsible for securing the user’s private information. Nowadays, regulators expect websites to follow international data protection laws like the General Data Protection Regulation or GDPR compliance regulation.
Web developers must also adopt best practices like setting prevention of loss of data processes and auditing security systems.
Web Developer vs. Web Designer
Most people view these two roles as the same, but there is a big difference. Web design is one part of web development. A web designer is usually a graphic artist who works on a website’s style, usability, and visual appearance. Web designers must have competent graphic and artistic skills; and knowledge of front-end languages like HTML or CSS.
Web developers are responsible for building the actual website using various coding languages. They convert a proposed website design into a functional live website.
Learning Web Development
You do not need to enroll in a 4-year bachelor’s degree program to learn web development. It is possible to learn web development from scratch, and some people can learn front-end languages in a few weeks.
Many aspiring web developers opt to enroll in coding boot camps to fast-track their learning. Most coding boot camps last for at least 12 weeks. They are shorter and more inexpensive than traditional courses. These boot camps are focused on immersion and hands-on training so participants can develop job-ready skills in a short period.
Nevertheless, learning web development does not end after attending a boot camp. Web developers commit themselves to ongoing learning as web development is a field that experiences rapid changes and growth. Digital technologies are evolving consistently, and a website usually needs major upgrading and modifications after two or three years.
Article contribution by Bash Sarmiento
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