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Web Development Definition & Meaning

Web development is the process of building and maintaining a website for the Internet or an intranet that is accessed through a web browser and hosted on a server, either on on-premises hardware or in the cloud. This includes everything from single plain-text webpages up to complex web applications.

The primary methods when developing a website include coding and web markup. However, there are a multitude of development tasks that also go into web development, such as scripting, security configuration, content development and ecommerce infrastructure.

Coding

Web developers build websites by coding using different programming languages. These languages consist of unique vocabularies, syntax and commands that define the visual representation and functionality of websites. Which language is used for development depends on the platform, operating system or style of the website. Some of the most common coding languages include the following:

All of these coding languages fall into two categories, front-end and back-end development.

Front-end vs back-end development

Front-end

Front-end, also known as client-side, development is used to build the layout, design and interactivity of a website. Front-end development is used to define how a website displays videos, images, text and graphics. It also defines front-facing interaction, such as minimizing and maximizing visual assets, highlighting text and filling out form fields. Front-end development uses the programming languages HTML, CSS and Javascript.

Back-end

Back-end, or server-side, development builds the digital infrastructure and behind-the-scenes functionality of a website to ensure it runs smoothly. The back end is made up of the server the website is hosted on, an application that operates the site and a database that stores the site data. Developers can use a variety of programming languages for back-end development, as servers can be configured to understand virtually any language.

Developers who are capable of carrying out both font-end and back-end development tasks are called Full-Stack developers.

Content Management System

Websites can be built by scratch but many developers choose to use web applications to create and manage on-site content called content management systems (CMS), such as WordPress or Drupal. These systems streamline web development by providing building blocks that create the structure of a website. Plug-ins and add-ons allow developers to expand the functionality they can build into websites without the need to code everything out.










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