Understanding Web development

On September 3, 2009 by MSF Technologies Team

Web development is a broad term for any activity to developing a web site for the World Wide Web or an internet. This can include e-commerce business development, web design, web content development, client-side/server-side scripting, and web server configuration.

However, among web professionals, “web development” usually refers only to the non-design aspects of building web sites, e.g. writing markup and coding. Web development can range from developing the simplest static single page of plain text to the most complex web-based internet applications, electronic businesses, or social network services.

For larger businesses and organizations, web development teams can consist of hundreds of people (web developers). Smaller organizations may only require a single permanent or contracting webmaster, or secondary assignment to related job positions such as a graphic designer and/or Information systems technician.

Web development may be a collaborative effort between departments rather than the domain of a designated department.

 Web Development can be split into many areas and a typical and basic web development hierarchy might consist of:

Client Side Coding

  • AJAX
    Provides new methods of using Javascript, server side languages (eg ASP.Net or PHP) and other languages to improve the user experience.

  • Flash

    Flash Player
    is a ubiquitous client-side platform ready forRIAs.

    Flex 2
    is also deployed to the Flash Player (version 9+)

  • Javascript
    Formally called ECMAScript, Javascript is a ubiquitous client side programming tool.

  • 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


Client Side + Server Side

  • Google Web Toolkit
    provides tools to create and maintain complex

    front-end applications in


  • 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.


Database Technology

In practice, many web developers will also have interdisciplinary skills / roles, including:


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.

Source: Wikipedia® – a registered trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., a non-profit organization


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