Since the mid-1990s, web development has been one of the fastest growing industries in the world. In 1995 there were fewer than 1,000 web development companies in the United States, but by 2005 there were over 30,000 such companies in the U.S. alone. The web development industry is expected to grow over 25% by 2010. The growth of this industry is being pushed by large businesses wishing to sell products and services to their customers and to automate business workflow.
The Swebinet founder has been in this industry since the mid-1980’s
In addition, cost of Web site development and hosting has dropped dramatically during this time. Instead of costing tens of thousands of dollars, as was the case for early websites, one can now develop a simple web site for less than a thousand dollars, depending on the complexity and amount of content. Smaller Web site development companies are now able to make web design accessible to both smaller companies and individuals further fueling the growth of the web development industry. As far as web development tools and platforms are concerned, there are many systems available to the public free of charge to aid in development. A popular example is the LAMP (Linux), Apache, MySQL, PHP, which is usually distributed free of charge. This fact alone has manifested into many people around the globe setting up new Web sites daily and thus contributing to increase in web development popularity. Another contributing factor has been the rise of easy to use WYSIWYG web development software, most prominently WebDev, Adobe Dreamweaver, Netbeans or Microsoft Expression Studio. Using such software, virtually anyone can develop a Web page in a matter of minutes. Knowledge of HyperText Markup Language (HTML), or other programming languages is not required, but recommended for professional results.
The next generation of web development tools uses the strong growth in LAMP, Java Platform, Enterprise Edition technologies and Microsoft .NET technologies to provide the Web as a way to run applications online. Web developers now help to deliver applications as Web services which were traditionally only available as applications on a desk based computer.
Instead of running executable code on a local computer, users are interacting with online applications to create new content. This has created new methods in communication and allowed for many opportunities to decentralize information and media distribution. Users are now able to interact with applications from many locations, instead of being tied to a specific workstation for their application environment.
Examples of dramatic transformation in communication and commerce led by web development include e-commerce. Online auction sites such as eBay have changed the way consumers consume and purchase goods and services. Online resellers such as Amazon.com and Buy.com (among many, many others) have transformed the shopping and bargain hunting experience for many consumers. Another good example of transformative communication led by web development is the blog. Web applications such as MovableType and WordPress have created easily implemented blog environments for individual Web sites. Open source content systems such as Alfresco, Typo3, Xoops, Joomla!, and Drupal have extended web development into new modes of interaction and communication.
In addition, web development has moved to a new phase of Internet communication. Computer web sites are no longer simply tools for work or commerce but used most for communication. Websites such as Facebook and Twitter provide users a platform to freely communicate. This new form of web communication is also changing e-commerce through the number of hits and online advertisement.
Web Development can be split into many areas and a typical and basic web development hierarchy might consist of:
Client Side Coding
- Flash Adobe Flash Player is a ubiquitous client-side platform ready for RIA’s. Flex2 is also deployed to the Flash Player (version 9+).
- JavaFX is a software platform for creating and delivering rich Web applications that can also run across a wide variety of devices.
- Microsoft Silverlight Microsoft’s browser plugin that enables animation, vector graphics and high-definition video playback, programmed using XAML and .NET programming languages.
Server Side Coding
- ASP (Microsoft proprietary)
- ColdFusion (Adobe proprietary, formerly Macromedia)
- CGI and/or Perl (open source)
- C Server Scripts (TrustLeap G-WAN, freeware)
- Java, e.g. Java EE or WebObjects
- Lotus Domino
- PHP (open source)
- Python, e.g. Django (web framework) (open source)
- Ruby, e.g. Ruby on Rails (open source)
- Smalltalk e.g. Seaside, AIDA/Web
- Websphere (IBM proprietary)
- .NET (Microsoft proprietary)
Client Side + Server Side
- Pyjamas is a tool and framework for developing AJAX applications and Rich Internet Applications in python.
- Tersus is a platform for the development of rich web applications by visually defining user interface, client side behavior and server side processing. (open source)
However lesser known languages like Ruby and Python are often paired with database servers other than MySQL (the M in LAMP). Below are example of other databases currently in wide use on the web. For instance some developers prefer a LAPR(Linux/Apache/PostgreSQL/Ruby on Rails) setup for development.
- Apache Derby
- DB2 (IBM proprietary)
- Microsoft SQL Server
In practice, many web developers will also have interdisciplinary skills / roles, including:
- Graphic design / web design
- Information architecture and copywriting/copyediting with web usability, accessibility and search engine optimization in mind
- Project management, QA and other aspects common to IT development in general
The above list is a simple website development hierarchy and can be extended to include all client side and server side aspects. It is still important to remember that web development is generally split up into client side coding covering aspects such as the layout and design, then server side coding, which covers the website’s functionality and back end systems.
Looking at these items from an “umbrella approach”, client side coding such as XHTML is executed and stored on a local client (in a web browser) whereas server side code is not available to a client and is executed on a web server which generates the appropriate XHTML which is then sent to the client. As the nature of client side coding allows you to alter the HTML on a local client and refresh the pages with updated content (locally), web designers must bear in mind the importance and relevance to security with their server side scripts. If a server side script accepts content from a locally modified client side script, the web development of that page shows poor sanitization with relation to security.
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