What is web development, and how does it differ from web design?

According to Wikipedia, Web Development is a broad term that covers most aspects of developing websites for the Internet. This covers aspects such as web design, writing interactive web applications, designing databases, e-commerce development, security configurations of networks etc.

Most of the times though, web development refers to creating a web page using some coding mechanism. This can range from the most basic form of using HTML and CSS (for which you could use a tool such as Adobe Dreamweaver), or coding in a client side scripting language for example Javascript, or building interactive websites using a server-side scripting language such as PHP as well as a database such as MySQL. Of course these are not the only technologies of this type, you get a number of scripting languages but PHP and MySQL is by far the most popular on the web today.

Personally I would say that web development is a broad description of everything that is required to get a website online.

The includes the following activities and makes use of the following methods/disciplines:
1. Requirements extraction – you need to find out what the client wants, what functionality the website should have

2. Website specification – there should be some document to document the requirements and specify what functionality the website should have. This can include the actual Graphic Design of the site, but should also include aspects such as a sitemap, as well as any interactive functionality that the site should have. The website specification can be as little as just a sitemap and one, or more graphic design concepts of what the home page should look like of the proposed site, up to a full document containing a full wireframe, as well as details of all graphic design elements (a web design on paper, so to speak), as well as workflows of any interactive elements and components (such as a shopping cart, for example).

3. The architecture definition – this can be included in the website specification. This should include the architecture that will be used to develop the site. A popular choice is what is known as a LAMP stack where LAMP stands for Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP.

4. The development of the site making use of the appropriate scripting languages and databases. Typical examples would be to develop the site using Dreamweaver, or to make use of one of the popular Content Management Systems such as Joomla or WordPress, or to code the site from scratch making use of a combination of scripting languages (both client and server side, as well as a Database).

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