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The Industry of Web development

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 alone, but by 2005 there were over 30,000 such companies.

 

The 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 or Microsoft Expression Studio (formerly Microsoft Frontpage) .

 

Typical Areas

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, PHP and other languages to improve the user experience.
  • Flash Adobe Flash Player is a ubiquitous client-side platform ready for RIAs. Flex 2 is also deployed to the Flash Player (version 9+)
  • Javascript Formally called EMCAScript, 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

  • ASP (Microsoft proprietary)
  • ColdFusion (Adobe proprietary, formerly Macromedia)
  • CGI and/or Perl (open source)
  • Java, e.g. J2EE 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
  • SSJS Server-Side JavaScript, e.g. Aptana Jaxer, Mozilla Rhino
  • Websphere (IBM proprietary)
  • .NET (Microsoft proprietary)

 

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/PostrgeSQL/Ruby on Rails) setup for development.

 

Database Technology

  • Apache Derby
  • DB2 (IBM proprietary)
  • Firebird
  • Microsoft SQL Server
  • MySQL
  • Oracle
  • PostgreSQL
  • SQLite

 

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.

 

Click here to download the current Web Development Timeline covering the History of web programming from 1990 until today's 2009. (pdf 4.57MB)

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