Web development. A popular term that often accompanies the world of technology, but what does it really mean? Put simply; web development is the process of creating custom website solutions. It involves coding languages, web design principles and more.
If you want to explore the unknown depths of web development, you’ve come to the right place. In this essential overview, we’ll be discussing what web development is, its various components, and why it’s so important.
Ready to explore? Let’s get going!
Introduction To Web Development:
We all use the internet. Whether it be for researching the newest trends in your job, comparing different coffee beans, or buying that pair of shoes that you’ve been eyeing for a while. The internet has indeed become an essential part of our everyday lives. Without it, we would feel lost.
But have you ever wondered what is behind the technology of the internet? What’s actually making it work? How are all these websites and apps made? The answer for all of that lies in web development.
What Is Web Development?
Web development, also known as website development, is the process of creating, building and maintaining websites and web applications to run on an online browser such as Google. Think about it this way - imagine a website or an application as a house - web development is the blueprint, the foundation, the building blocks and even the furnishings that build up to make this house.
This term is closely related to the job of designing features and functionalities of websites. However, web design and web development are two different concepts. Web design is the visual aspect of a website - how pretty it looks, how the colours combine to create a certain feeling, and the navigation bar - it is basically how a website looks.
On the other hand, web development is more focused on what goes in the background of a website. Web development is all about coding, making sure that an application runs smoothly and efficiently.
Here is an informative infographic that outlines the key differences between web development and web design:
Web development breaks down into two main categories - frontend and backend. Let’s explore this in more detail.
What Is Frontend Development?
In plain English terms, frontend development is every task that has to do with the webpage you see in front of you. Most of what you do when you’re on a website is front-end work. It includes any buttons, links, animations, and the overall design of a website.
You’re interacting with frontend development when you see an image that fades out, click on a call to action button, or watch a video. This is all possible because of the work of a front-end developer.
Apart from the visual appearance of a website, front-end developers must also see to it that the website and website application runs smoothly across different devices. This includes tablets, computers and, of course, mobile phones!
With the staggering 50.41 million mobile users in South Africa, it’s even more important to ensure your website is mobile-friendly. But how can you ensure that your website is mobile-friendly?
By investing in mobile development.
What Is Mobile Development?
Have you ever opened a website on your mobile phone with a zoomed-in view or buttons that are too small to click with your finger? This is an example of bad mobile development. The correct example of mobile development is when a website is optimised for mobile phones. All buttons are spaced out, and the user experience remains the same as it would on a desktop computer.
Mobile development is classified as the development of any software or application, specifically for mobile phones. Mobile development includes the creation of apps as well as responsive websites.
Now that you’ve got the just of frontend development, here are the three languages for the web development they specialise in:
Languages For Frontend Web Development
The following languages are the most popular for frontend web development:
HTML stands for HyperText Markup Language. HTML is the building block for all types of content displayed on the webpage. For example, if you have an image about your business building displayed on the webpage, it will look like the following:
<img src="business-building.jpg" alt="Building of business">
CSS, short for Cascading Style Sheets, is like the paintbrush for your webpage. HTML provides the structure with tags and attributes, but CSS is what makes it look good. It adds styling to the webpage like colour, layout, animation and responsiveness.
With the three main languages in web development, the frontend developer will combine these languages to create a dynamic website that will leave you, hopefully - in awe.
What Is Backend Development?
Backend development is the mystery behind every website. If you’re not a developer, you wouldn’t have the slightest clue as to what’s happening behind the scenes.
For example, when you finally purchase those shoes online, you wouldn’t know what’s happening in the backend.
Once you input your card information and press ‘submit’, there are a series of processes going on in the backend. The transfer of card information is encrypted and verified, payment processing takes place when the user pays via credit/debit cards, authentication takes place when the user provides their login credentials, and there’s also data storage. All of these processes are done through backend development.
Backend development is also more focused on the logical side of things. To reference back to our building-a-house metaphor - the backend developer would be responsible for the plumbing, electrical works and all things related to the infrastructure of the house. So basically, they write codes that focus on the functionality and logic of the website as well as the website application they’re working on.
Typical tasks of the backend developer involve writing APIs, writing code to interact with databases, integrating third-party services, developing server applications, and resolving errors.
Are you interested in the languages backend developers use? Here they are.
Languages For Backend Web Development
The following are the majorly used languages for backend development:
PHP, also known as Hypertext Processor, is a scripting language and processor. This language is mostly used in server-side scripting, but it can also be command-line scripting and desktop applications.
Python, the language, not the snake, is a computer programming language. It is used to build websites and software, automate tasks, and even analyse data. Say, for example, you want to add an image of yourself on the website. The Python coding would look something like this:
(This is based on the Flask Framework written by Python)
from flask import Flask, render_template
app = Flask(__name__)
image_path = ‘/path/to/your/image.jpg’ # Replace with the actual path of your image
return render_template('index.html', image_path=image_path)
if __name__ == '__main__':
Angular is a contemporary platform and framework that utilises HTML and TypeScript for creating enterprise-level Single-page Web Applications (SPAs) following the MVVC architecture. This web development language is used to build the front end of web applications that involves a lot of data manipulation and complex user interfaces.
With frontend and backend development behind us, we hope that you have a better understanding of what web development is and the languages used in it. Now for the last piece of the essential information you need - Website development principles.
What Are The Principles Of Website Development?
The principles that we’ll mention below guide web developers on how to create efficient, secure and user-friendly websites. Without these principles, it would (referring back to our home-building metaphor) be like building a house without a proper plan.
Principle 1: Focus on the user
Good website development should always focus on the user experience. For instance, making sure that the navigation is smooth and intuitive and the design of the website is visually pleasing. This principle can be applied through UI/UX design and research to ensure that the website appeals to its intended users.
Principle 2: Pay attention to quality
Quality over quantity is a quote that definitely rings true when it comes to web development. It is important to create websites with great attention to detail, as even small issues can cause major errors.
Principle 3: Code responsibly
This is the most crucial of all principles, as it will affect website performance. Responsible coding means writing code that is clean, efficiently written and well-commented. Clean code is easy to debug and maintain, making it easier for future web development.
These are just three of the many principles you get, but in our opinion, it is the most important one. Doing the research, coding responsibly and focusing on the user experience is key to building good websites.
Final Thoughts On What Is Web Development
When it comes to website development, it is the process of building and maintaining websites. It involves a number of skill sets, such as frontend and backend development, database management, and website design.
If you are looking for a web development company in South Africa, Starbright can provide you with just what you need! We will not, hopefully, but definitely leave you in ‘awe’ of the result.
Give us a call, and let us build or take your website to the next level!
Frequently Asked Questions About Website Development.
1. How is WordPress used in web development?
WordPress is a popular content management system, which is often used for web development. It provides users with an intuitive interface to create and manage websites without needing any coding knowledge.
2. What is the role of web development in e-commerce?
E-commerce development is the process of creating an online store. It requires web development skills such as designing web pages, coding and developing databases, managing servers, integrating payment processing systems, and more.
3. What are web application frameworks, and why are they used?
Web application frameworks are used to develop web applications by providing a set of development tools and libraries. They provide developers with a consistent structure for developing websites, as well as offer various components such as authentication, data validation, and more.