What is Web Development?
Updated: Oct 3
Firstly, it involves creating and maintaining web pages, secondly the web development work allows the website to not only look good, but also work flawlessly and quickly providing visitors with a high user experience.
Worth knowing is the fact, that developers work with special web building tools. Each website builder is different and used according to certain tasks and platforms. More about it below.
Web designer or web developer? What is the difference between them?
When it comes to web development, the question that often arises is, what do I need? What is the difference between web design and web development? Are the two different? Aren't we talking about the same thing?
The answer is definitely NO, web design and web development are not the same, although it is a fact that most people mean the same process, namely the creation of a website.
Who is a web designer?
The web designer is a person responsible for designing the appearance of a website. She/He is the one who draws the "design" or look of the website. Their responsibility is to decide what colors, fonts, shapes, layouts are applied. As well as to ensure that the company's web appearance is in line with its image/service.
The web designer works with drawing programs such as Adobe Photoshop or Adobe XD but does not participate in programming tasks.
The tasks and skills of the web designer:
Use of graphic software’s
Color usage, color theory
Image editing, composition
Designing user experience
Who is a web developer?
The web developer encodes the graphic design/plans gathered from the web designer and creates a functional website. He/she is not involved in the website design but can advise the web designer team on web standards that need to be adhered during the designing process.
If you want to be a web designer, you do not have to have web developing or programming skills, however you should have some insight into web page responsiveness and operation. In addition, the web developer does not need to understand Photoshop, drawing, colors, and typography.
The tasks and skills of the web designer:
Create a workable web page
Understand programming languages "coding"
Develop fast, flawless, responsive, and browser-compatible website
It is a wide range of activities, from the creation of simple static websites to developing a complex web-based applications and web shops.
Although "web development" is a profession, companies and studios involved in the process provide comprehensive services ranging from graphic design to programming.
Type of web developers
Answering the question "What does a web developer do?" is not easy to answer. There are several types of web developers, and each of them works on a specific area during the process.
Web developers are divided into three large groups:
full stack developers
The frontend developer is responsible for the parts of the website that people see through the browser. The backend developer is responsible for behind-the-scenes “coding”, which enables creation of dynamic web pages supported by databases. And full stack developers cover both areas: the frontend and the backend.
1. Front-end developer
HTML - allows you to add content to your web page while dividing the page into headers, sections, and footers. It is an indispensable language if you want to be a frontend developer. If you right-click and select "View Source" in your browser, you will see the html code that's responsible to display the website. HTML allows you to specify what content to display on a web page and, to some extent, how it should be displayed. The HTML code begins with the line "DOCTYPE html", which indicates to a browser that it is a HTML document. If you scroll down a little bit in the HTML source code, you will find parts that are responsible for displaying paragraphs, links, images, or videos. These are the instructions that tells your browser what source, what content to display, and how to display it. HTML is an easy-to-learn language and is usually the first language that web developers encounter.
CSS - defines the page structure and style, such as colors, shapes, fonts, dimensions, or borders. CSS is the second most important language after HTML, which frontend developer should be familiar with at a high level. CSS code is used in conjunction with HTML, while HTML tells the web page what content to display, CSS describes how the content is displayed. It is clear by now, that CSS plays a key role in web development, especially in frontend development. If you want to learn CSS, there are many online courses, YouTube channels and text tutorials available on the web.
The frontend development work therefore includes:
Programming the website (pixel-accurate) defined in the graphic design
Establish and control the responsive (device-independent) operation of the website. Essential to work perfectly on all devices, mobiles, tablets, and desktops
Programming the links, buttons, and navigations of the website. The outgoing links should work, the menu structure should be easy to use and logically structured
Testing and checking the website in all popular browser programs
2. Back-end developer
While it seems that the frontend developer has a difficult task in ensuring flawless website look, design and work on all devices and browsers, the task of a backend developer is even more complex and challenging. The frontend developers are the one dealing with client-side programming, but the backend developers are responsible for server-side coding.
This means that they have to write the code and program in a way, that it allows web pages to be supported by dynamic databases run on web servers. It is the responsibility of the backend developer to ensure that the code written is well structured, efficient, and secure. Efficiency has become the priority in recent years, as the speed of loading plays a prominent role in search engine optimization (SEO). Also, they use a variety of server-side programming languages, like PHP, Java, Python, Ruby, and SQL.
PHP - PHP is one of the most widely used and popular programming languages among web developers. PHP language is used by more than 80% of websites. Despite the fact that its popularity has decreased a little in recent years, it is still unavoidable when it comes to web development. Using and learning PHP is relatively easy, and many novice backend developers start with this language. PHP is especially popular with open sources like WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal and so competent professionals will always be looking for your skills.
Java - has played a huge role in web development for many years. Java is not a young language, but it is used in many areas of web development. It enables you to build fast, responsive, scalable web applications for high-load, complex web tasks. Java is a basic language for many backend developers. It is relatively easy to master, which is especially beneficial for beginners. It's extremely scalable, allowing you to develop large, high-hit websites like eBay and Amazon.
Python - is considered by many to be the "Swiss army knife" of programming languages and designed to be very easy to read and understand. Reliably fulfills this role with the help of a growing army of special libraries and frameworks. Also, it is one of the leading programming languages in artificial intelligence, thanks to the popular TensorFlow framework developed by Google's AI division.
And finally, different type of web pages have different type of structure, it is the duty of the backend developer to choose the technology and programming language that best suits the task. It requires a good knowledge of popular technologies, speed, scalability, safety, and operability.
3. Full stack developer
If you're looking for a quick answer to the question "What is a web developer?", then the full stack developer will probably be the closest solution. The full stack developer has insight into both frontend and backend processes and technologies.
For smaller, simplified websites, with small budget a full stack developer is employed usually. He is the one who can perform the frontend and backend tasks, so it is feasible without the involvement of additional specialists.
Mastering full stack development techniques has the following benefits:
Capable to develop an entire website as one
Advantage of frontend and backend methods, helpful in web design projects
Higher earnings and competence in more areas due to broader qualifications
Tend to be more popular in the labor market than frontend or backend positions
Even though most programmers start in frontend or backend areas, there are countless benefits when you know both. As a Full Stack developer, you will find a job easier and have a better view of the entire web development spectrum, making starting your own business easier.
What professionals are involved in a web development project?
Web development is not just about programming, it requires the cooperation of professionals from different fields to succeed. Let's see who makes up the web development team:
Project manager – he records the project, participates in the preparation of specifications and quotations. Responsible for managing resources and meeting deadlines. He leads the team and communicates constantly with the client
Web designer (UI designer) – responsible for the graphic design. Creates wireframes, designs the home page and subpages of the website or web application
Tester – ideally, the finished software will be tested by someone other than the one who programmed it. It uses procedures and methods that highlights potential shortcomings in a software before it is launched
Operator – a person who knows administration interfaces and content management systems well to help you upload any content
Copywriter - creates use and search-friendly texts
Online marketing specialist – responsible for the online promotion of the finished website / web shop. Their support will help you meet your marketing goals as efficiently as possible
SEO specialist – helps the website / web shop to achieve good rankings in Google
Administrator – creates storage space for the finished web application / website and the necessary hardware and software resources
Steps of web development
Contact and assessment - the purpose is to find out as much information as possible about the project. Learn about the industry and the environment in which the finished website will have to perform
Specification - the collected information is made into a specification to accurately record the expectations of the website
Quotation and contracting - the quote contains the description of the workflow, delivery time, and cost. After the quotation has been approved, a contract is drawn up
Research and planning - research can include competitor analysis, user interviewing, customer journey creation and methodologies that help you gather as much useful information as possible for your work. In the first round of the design phase, wireframes are made to show the layout of each page
Web design - after the approval of wireframes the web design follows, where the website layouts will take a final form. Next the graphic design is planned, which presents the final appearance of the site in 1:1 aspect ratio, viewable from the browser
Programming - at this stage of the web development, programmers receive customer-approved graphic designs, from which they create a clickable, functional, responsive website
Content upload - uploading the first content of the website is also part of the web development, in which the client cannot be left alone
Testing - the finished website is tested by the developer on various devices and browsers in order to make sure everything works flawlessly
Hosting and operation - the operation of the website is a multifaceted task. Content management systems and web technologies need to be constantly updated to operate securely. Also, during the website update some adjustments has to be made in certain cases, which require an expert in the field
Tips and advises before web development
Create a competitor analysis to learn about the market size, number, potential
Always prepare a written task specification
The web development quotation should be as detailed as possible and record the cost implications of each task
The contract should be drawn up before the start of the work, with deadlines and major development milestones set out. The contract should cover the post-transfer aid and its costs
Search for a trusted web development companies that are strong not only in development but also in design
The design should be aligned with the content and features not other way around
The source code has to be well structured and easy to understand, with the possibility to pass on to other development companies
The resources used for web development (icons, fonts, graphics, images, texts) should be unique and legal
Make your finished website SEO-friendly, to meet Google's standards
The software should be responsive, support all devices and screen resolutions. In addition, it should appear flawlessly in the most popular browsers
The loading speed of the website / web shop / web application should be as fast as possible, is key to success
The content management system used for development should be secure, user-friendly, easy everyday people to manage
Web development prices and payment solutions
In web development projects, two type of payment solutions are common:
Fixed-rate payment model – a popular solution for smaller web development projects, where both the task specifications and deadlines are precisely set. This solution carries fewer risks and makes the project and budget precisely predictable.
Pay as You Go payment model – for medium and large-scale projects when the performed tasks and deadlines cannot be determined precisely. In this case, the settlement is carried out in an hourly rate, usually with end-of-month settlement.
How to choose a web development company?
You should look for the following information when selecting a development studio:
Website – look up the quality of their website, what content is published and how often
Headcount - how many people make up the company, full-time employees or freelancers
Office - do they have an office, work remotely or from home
Portfolio – references and previous work
Customer feedback - read customer reviews on their website, Google, Yell etc.
Reaction time - how quickly they respond to your request, and what questions are asked
Quotation – is it a transparent and detailed quote with improvements stated
Contract – is there a contract between the parties
Problem solving skills – do they solve the issues creatively or try to avoid them