When a candidate arrives in for an interview, they are asked to introduce themselves. Most of them have a speech ready, which they deliver over the next two or three minutes and you gait a fair idea about them. A website is nothing else other than that, except that the communication occurs through written content, images and videos. You can think of a website as this little speech that introduces you or your organization to the visitor. Only, in case of a website, there is a scope to be elaborate and impressive. A website can provide much more information than a small speech and can deliver it step by step, in an effective manner. But most importantly, a website, unlike an introductory speech, can find the relevant listeners at its own and travel to them without a restriction of national or geographical boundaries. The process of putting together such a website is web development.
Web development essentially involves of two parts – web designing and web development. While web designing is more related with the static part of the website, with the creative aspect of it, with the layout, the look and feel and the interface, web development is concerned with technical aspects, mostly with the dynamic part of the website. This leads to two questions…
A static website is the one that only provides information through text, images and videos as well as other mediums of graphical representation. This website has no interface where the users can type in data or click to answer or provide a choice. In other words, a static website is the one that only talks and does not listen. So, any parts of the website that do this could be called as the static parts of a website. Those who design such websites are typically called as web designers.
A dynamic website is the one that provides an interface to gather data or choices from the user. It may then process this data and provide analysis or responses based on the same. In short, it is a smart website in the background of which runs a complex code written by a web developer.
Now that we have got these two parts out of the way, we can proceed to learning what mainly involves in the web development process.
Here are the 6 steps in which web development occurs…
Now that you know that web development is nothing but building dynamic websites, it will be easy to understand the web development process, which starts with selecting a development platform, or to put more in layman’s term, the programming languages in which the code is written.
Today there are several tools for web development which are given a preference based on the requirement of the website. Now, aren’t all the websites just the same? Well, it might occur so to a normal user, but they are not. Each website has its own set of feature requirements determined by various factors such as development deadline, loading time, data processing efficiency, security against hacking, complexity of the database in the background in which the data will be stored and so on. It is extremely imperative to choose the right set of development tools before the process begins, or it can all end up in either a failed project or an inefficient one. When the basic paperwork is done, web developers get a fair idea of the level of challenge they will have to face. They also have to weigh the factors such as the team size required to build the project and the deadline in which they have to finish it. Once they have drawn before them all the variables, they choose a suitable platform out several available ones such as Java, PHP, .Net and so on. Then they decide upon a database management system such as MySQL or Oracle that will provide the database engine to hold all the data accepted by the website.
A database is like a cupboard or a storage rack where things are placed in a way so they can be retrieved later with ease. Like a cupboard has several compartments, small or large, depending on what things they are supposed to hold, a database also has several compartments where information is stored. For example, when you sign up on a website and create an account, all the information that you provide during registration is stored in a database. Further, when you return a day later and login into the website, the very same information is fetched from the database based on your username. That is how you see the exact same display picture of yours that you set the last time. In this way, once the web development process is over and the website is up and running, it needs to constantly store and retrieve data accessed by multiple users at a time, sometimes hundreds or even thousands. This process puts a certain amount of load on the resources of the server where the database is located. If the database is poorly designed during the web development process without predicting what kind of load it will have to face, it can lead to a crashed server and the website will either become unavailable to the user or it will act in an unpleasant manner. Hence, it is very important to draw right compartments in the database so that it should easily handle an amount of load that is more than the expected. Although database design is not one of the longest or the most painful processes in web development, it is one of the important ones.
Now that we have understood where the data goes in once it has been entered by the user, let us understand the interfaces, typically called as forms that help the users interact. Designing a form is one of the most interesting steps in web development. It means designing an interface to accept different kind of data, such as date, time, text and numeric data through components such as check boxes, radio buttons, text areas and drop-down menus and then send it across the internet to the server where your database is situated. Developing a dynamic interface and linking it with the database pretty much summarizes the web development process, at least, tells us what lies at the core of the web development process.
A task done pretty much during the web development process, adding proper security against hacking attacks such as SQL injections is an important task that needs to be taken care of. Like a cupboard holding valuable things has a lock on it, there has to be a lock on your database and the code that runs the website or else unpleasant occurrences such as data destruction or theft by hackers may be invited. Hence adding proper security to the website is an important task that needs to be paid attention to by the web developers during web development.
Other than what we have discussed above, there may be one or two other things that happen during web development, such as simultaneous software testing, setting up a proper hosting account that will provide the website with essential bandwidth, uploading the website and so on. But the above four points mostly cover the web development process.