Website Development – Beginner’s Guide

Trying to learn about website development but lost? Check out this beginners guide full of the information you need to start learning to code.

Whether you’ve decided to develop a simple-looking website, a complex platform, or an online store, there are some important web development terms and concepts you should be aware of.

Websites – the pillars of the Internet as we know it

First, what is a website ? It can be said that it is simply an array of files stored on a server and accessing them is possible through the Internet. While there are certain things you can do to prevent someone or a group of people from accessing your site, for the most part it is in your best interest to leave it for the whole world to see.

Browsers – the tools that display your content to the end user

It is through a browser that a website can be displayed correctly on someone’s computer. These are computer programs, so naturally you’ll have plenty of options to choose from when it comes to choosing your favorite (examples include Firefox, Chrome, and so on). To describe the relationship between you and the world web, your computer is the client, and the website you are trying to connect to is the server.

IP address – your online identity

In order to distinguish between a multitude of devices connected to the Internet at any given time, each of them is assigned an IP (Internet Protocol) address. No IP address can be the same – that would defeat the whole purpose of the system. To access a website, you generally have two ways to go about it. You can enter your IP address or your domain name, the latter of which is much used.

HTTP – a standard that defines how messages are displayed online

The HyperText Transfer Protocol (or HTTP for short) is a standard that defines how data sent through the server is interpreted by the client device. Since each site has multiple web pages, this is how you navigate through them. To understand its true functionality, imagine it as the missing link between you and the site – a translator, if you will, the one who receives the message from your own computer and sends it to the server you are communicating with (and vice versa).

Coding language – the building blocks of the website

Just like a standard language used to establish communication between two living things, a coding language is how website developers can issue a set of instructions on how a website should load. It’s not just websites that use it, though – so are programs. Of course, there are all sorts of coding languages, the choice of which depends on the specifications of the project you are undertaking.

Front end – what users see

Frontal interaction is what users see. When a set of instructions is sent from the server to the client’s computer, this is what happens on the screen – even without a constant stream of new instructions from the server. In other words, when you are playing a video, browsing images, highlighting text, and so on.

 

Backend – what happens behind the scenes

For someone who is not a website developer, this essential part of development is a little difficult to explain. But for short, it’s anything that has to do with databases, operating systems, and APIs. This is how the site structure is built. While JavaScript, as an example, is the language you would use on the front side of things, the backend lets you choose from a wide range of languages.

CMS – putting content in order

A content management system (CMS) is how website developers put together developed content in a rational order. Note: these are not to be confused with website builders. Both eCommerce store owners and bloggers use them as they make organizing content so much easier.

Reasons to learn web development

We live in a world where technology is the norm, and sooner or later, you are likely to find the need to develop a website; whether for your own projects or if someone else hires you to do it, your web development skills are bound to see plenty of opportunity to shine. Since its inception, the Internet has become a central hub for research, education, entertainment and connectivity.

It is estimated that there are over 4.2 billion Internet users today. To put it in perspective, that’s more than half of everyone living on the face of the planet! As such, it’s easy to see why web development is a rapidly expanding industry.

There is no tested process when it comes to making websites. Based on what you intend to build, the development process can be very different. However, if you know the tools of the trade, you can create just about anything you want, just as you imagined it to be.

The first part of the process is creating a schedule. There’s no need to complicate things – just a simple starting point from which to funnel your ideas. You can also use a professional whiteboard tool like Mindnode or Invision.

Before getting started with development, there are essential questions that need to be answered:

· What kind of content will be published on the individual pages?

· Can it be organized into categories?

· How will pages be referenced or linked?

· Are there any sections that you could end up with?

The next step is to write the code

Writing code is not talking; is walking. At this point, the web developer will assess the project’s needs and choose one or several coding languages ​​to do the job. These define interactivity and functionality. To get a glimpse into the developer’s mind, here are just a few of them that they often choose to work with:

 

HTML

HyperText Markup Language (HTML) has been around since the early 90’s. Essentially, this is the foundation of your website. While you could add other elements to support it, this is the foundation of its skeleton. If you want it to look modern, though, it’s probably a good idea to combine it with other tools in a web designer’s arsenal.

CSS

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) was also released in the 90s. Unlike pure HTML, it is focused on making your website look beautiful and giving it the much-needed stylistic elements. With it, you can adjust various properties such as colors and typography. All browsers can understand it, so it’s really a universal way to make your site graphically appealing.

JavaScript

This is where web development reaches a new level of complexity. With the help of JavaScript, you can really expand the functionality of your website, automate certain tasks, and add new features designed to improve your user experience. Since its inception in the 90s, it has become much more powerful compared to the previous time.

HTML, CSS and JavaScript are essentially the three big central building blocks of website development. Understanding how they work will pave the way for creating a responsive and highly functional website that responds to the demands of today’s highly meticulous user base.

Building the backend

Writing code is one aspect of web development, although it’s far from the only one. But no matter how you put it, you’re more than likely to spend a considerable amount of your time as a developer doing just that – writing code.

But first, it’s important to have a solid understanding of what this entails. Looking at an example from Facebook, it’s easy to see how photo management can work in two phases. First of all, you need some kind of backend to store them. So, you need a front to be able to navigate through them. This is achieved through the following:

1. Databases

Databases store the data so that server requests can retrieve it on demand.

2. Servers

Servers process requests. In a way, they are the middle gear between your browser and the background database. Through a browser, a user sends a request to display certain information, which the server then interprets and proceeds to fetch the necessary pieces of data from a database.

The three backend goals

While there are always some subtle nuances, in essence the backend struggles to handle the following:

 

Website logic. Think of it as a predetermined set of rules by which your site will process requests and allow web design elements to be interacted with.

Database management. No matter how you put it, data is one of the most crucial parts of a website’s architecture, and it’s up to you to write the rules for how it’s handled through SQL databases and such.

infrastructure. In other words, how your site will be hosted. The more expensive the server, the more load it can handle.

The final word on the backend

If you design a small business website , you may not be storing any data in a database. If this is the case, you may not even need it. But even if you only require the most basic functionality, like having the option to log into a website, there’s no way to do that without having some sort of backend working. Only purely informational sites can work and not have a backend.

Building the front end

If WordPress or Squarespace rings a bell, chances are you’ve already contacted the front end of a website in one way or another. Since the front end is an elementary part of web design and is the experience that visitors receive, you simply cannot afford to devalue it.

To be brief, HTML, CSS and JavaScript are three essential elements of front-end web development. It is the part of your website that is responsible for responsiveness, browser compatibility, and navigation.

Since the front-end aspect of a website can quickly become outdated, working with a CMS can be the preferred and quickest way to do this.

A CMS will make things much simpler and easier to use.

If coding something from scratch isn’t quite what you envision yourself doing, using a CMS is a great way to get the job done without writing code. On the other hand, it’s not as flexible, and you won’t have as much control over the end result as you would if you hired a web design company .

As many of you have probably heard, there is no need to reinvent the wheel. So unless there’s something really crazy you want to do with your front end, thinking about a CMS that already has the functionality you’re looking for built into it is definitely worth your consideration.

For example, let’s say you set out to build an online store. Working with a tested CMS or plugin, you will have most of the work already laid out for you. The same goes for the backend functionality – after all, the main thing you need is to allow your e-commerce customers to login and enter their credit card details securely. There’s no need to build all this from scratch if you can use pre-built solutions.

A Quick Word About Purchasing a Domain Name

Before being able to start your website development project, you will need a domain name. Since you can’t expect people to remember your IP address, a domain name should always be part of the plan, so take all the time you need to decide on it. While some domain name extensions are more expensive than others, generally speaking, any domain you decide to buy will last a year before you need to renew it.

Conclusion

The Internet has become an integral part of our lives and is here to stay. With so many users coming to it to look for information on a daily basis, website development will become an even more important career than it is today. Are you looking for developer vacancies, see here .