What is Web Development?
Web Development usually refers to the activities related to the development of website functionalities. Although every website is developed differently, there are three fundamental components to every web-based application in today’s day and age. These include the
- Frontend – the user interface of the site that the user directly interacts with.
- Backend – where the functionality of the application usually exists on a separate server.
- Database – the place where data is stored for later retrieval.
But how did we get to this point? Web development has evolved a lot over the past 20 years. Originally the Web 1.0 era was defined by static web pages that essentially just displayed information. This explosion of information led to the dot-com bubble as business and individuals looked to stake their web real estate claim.
The Web 2.0 era saw the emergence of dynamic web apps. Applications that allowed the user to interact and save their own data led to social media platforms’ rise. Many believe we are now entering a new third era—an era of customized AI-driven experiences different for every user.
The rise of big data has allowed web applications to be tailored to users’ needs, with buzz words such as machine learning becoming commonplace language, as software becomes an essential part of daily life.
What are the advantages of Web Development?
Today’s web development landscape offers several advantages over traditional software development. The most crucial benefit that web-based applications provide is universal compatibility. All smart devices, from phones, tablets and televisions have access to web browsers allowing them to directly run a web application without the need for app installation or device-specific drivers.
This means web content can reach anybody, anywhere in the world. Unlike traditional software applications, users can access web applications regardless of what operating system they are using. Accounts and user data can be accessed from multiple devices with cloud storage allowing users access to their data wherever they may be.
Another great advantage of web development is that it eliminates the need to perform updates on software hosted on users’ devices. Web software is hosted on servers, which can be updated at any time. This provides users with instant access to the updated version of the software. This makes development easier with increased maintainability, updateability and consistency of the code supplied by implementing a single source of truth for the codebase. Separate development environments can be set up to run parallel to the production environment allowing development teams to be confident in how code will behave once on the server and working with live user data.
Web-based applications give a far greater ability to integrate with other systems than traditional legacy desktop applications. Localized software is isolated compared to web-based applications which are significantly more interoperable. Web-based systems can also be easily set up to implement bug tracking systems and live data analytics allowing for data-driven development. This is because web applications naturally require a network connection and can be linked together more quickly than two separate systems.