Guide to Learning Web Development, incl. Free Tutorials • Discoverology
33 items | 321m read

Ultimate Guide To Learning Web Development

7m read | Introduction
Ultimate Guide To Learning Web Development

Web development is not only important within the modern world, but it’s also one of the most sought-after professions out there. Our world runs on technology and therefore runs on the development of websites and webpages. While many people know what a website is and how to access one, many others don’t know the programs, people, and other parts of the web development that go into creating these sites. This is an introduction to web development which will help give you a basic understanding of how it works.

What is Web Development?

Web development tends to refer to the activities related to website functionalities and development. Although every website is developed differently, there are three fundamental components that conduct and interaction between the site and the user. The first is the Frontend, also known as the Client. This is the local computer, device, and browser the user is interacting with in order to access the website. For this part of web development, the challenge comes with making sure that a website functions exactly the same way on all browsers. Next comes the Backend or Server component. The Server is the remote computer that’s being run on the other side of the interaction and is responsible for site code generation and database handling.

The database is the information that is generated or used within the website. For instance, Facebook users who are logged into the site have their account information stored in the database for the site. This includes all your photos, your personal updates, shared content, and profile information. Understanding the three fundamental components helps you to understand where web development ties into the entire process. The web developer’s role is quite significant. They ensure that when the users interact with the website, it reacts in the way it’s predicted to do so.

The History of Web Development

To better understand what web development is, it would help to take a look back at how web development became what it is today. You’d be surprised where it started because it’s in quite a different place than where it is today. Web development is tied to the implementation of the World Wide Web and the arrival of the Mosaic Browser in 1993. While it was originally developed within the 1980’s it wasn’t until 1993 when it truly caught fire. Businesses were initially apprehensive at the thought of using the world wide web but eventually found that it had commercial potential. There was a great influx of usage thanks to the growth of the network infrastructure. This proverbial tech bubble grew and grew until it popped and now the internet is all but essential to our daily lives. Amazon, Yahoo, and Google are the main survivors of that technological era.

Implementation of the World Wide Web started at CERN. It was very much an academic tool. It was tied between military and academic entities who used it to transfer vital information. One of the first browsers that came out was the Mosaic browser. It came out of the university setting, specifically the University of Illinois in Urbana Champaign. From the development of Mosaic browser came what many early web users remember and loved – Netscape. Netscape was one of the first commercialized browsers. 1995 is when things really took off. The commercial internet took off and became available to the common folk. Microsoft then jumped on the bandwagon and released the Microsoft Internet Explorer browser in the coming years. This was also the time when Bill Gates wrote now infamous The Internet Tidal Wave memo, which predicted that the internet would become something bigger. It gives an intimate look at how early internet and world wide web adopters approached it. He made clear in the memo that he had the intention of focusing Microsoft’s efforts online with immediate effect. The executive staff members were meant to make the Internet their highest priority. He called it a very important development. He wasn’t wrong.

It’s hard to believe it now, but the early internet didn’t look the way it does today and therefore it didn’t look like something that could be commercialized and pushed into homes. It was codes and hyperlinks. Web development became what it is now because of the commercialization of the internet and the world wide web. At one point in history, Microsoft thought that interactive television was the way to go. The common person was far more engaged by texts and words when it was put together with pictures. That’s arguably why film and television continue to be so popular. This vision of interactive television is what led to pictures and other graphic designs being implemented in web browsers. This is why nowadays there’s such a high demand for web developers and web designers. The marketability of your website is a key aspect of gaining success in the modern business world. Photos, logos, different fonts styles, videos, and more are all important components to a successful website. Yet, they wouldn’t exist without the code implementation that comes from web development.

What are the Web Development Roles?

When you’re developing a website, you’ll want to take into consideration the specific project roles. They have different responsibilities that are important to the entire process.

Web Designer: First is the web designer. These professionals often get mistaken for web developers, but their roles are quite different. They’re responsible for the usability of a website and its appearance. They normally work with Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator to help them come up with a design. The more advanced web designers can build web prototypes using coding skills.

Frontend Developer: Frontend developers are the ones who keep web designers and backend developers connected. These individuals deal with client-side programming and applying web designs they’ve received from web designers. They commonly use HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

Backend Developer: The Backend developers are the ones who work behind the proverbial curtain. They’re responsible for developing server-side logic, managing database connection, designing APIs, and handling authorizations and security. These developers commonly use Ruby, Java, Node, and quite a few other programs to get the job done. These professionals also deal with the databases.

Full Stack Developer: As an army of one, the Full stack developer is a specialist who can work on both the server and client-side, and sometimes they’ll even develop the design of a website. These professionals have mastery over different layers, which is highly sought-after in the job market. Full-stack developers are also highly sought after because they understand the problems that may arise in different project roles. This makes them a perfect fit for a team leadership position.

What Do Web Developers Do?

In a general sense, web developers are responsible for building and maintaining websites. The average Joe may assume that web developers spend a majority of the day messing around with codes, but that’s not all that they do. Development is a huge part of their job, but there are other important tasks that they need to get done.

Analysis: As a constant part of a web developer’s job, analysis involves talking with a client and gathering nonfunctional and functional requirements. The purpose of this is so that the developer can look at a project from an isometric point of view. From there, they’ll plan out the architecture accordingly.

Code Review: New codes aren’t just added to the main codebase. They normally undergo a code review process. The process involves other developers who go through the code, review it, and then make suggestions on how to improve the code.

Mentoring: Mentoring plays an important role in the web development field. Once a developer has reached a certain level of understanding about web development, they’re normally expected to share their knowledge with others. Many advanced web developers train junior developers. Following the mentorship, there will often be a pair of programming which involves two developers sitting in front of one computer trying to solve different problems together.

Maintenance: Maintenance involves solving problems like random bugs and making small changes to a project that’s already working.

Meetings: Another misconception about web developers is that they’re constantly alone. That’s not true. In many cases, developers spend quite a bit of time meeting with and talking to others. In some cases, web developers are independently contracted or entrepreneurs. That means they’ve got to be their own secretaries and produce and maintain their workflow. Communication goes beyond discussing new features with their clients. Developers will commonly organize daily status meetings, where they will discuss what they accomplished work-wise in the previous day. They’ll then discuss what they’re going to accomplish in the near future.

What is Needed to Become a Web Developer?

Many people may assume that you need a degree to become a web developer, but the truth is grayer than that. Studying computer science will give you a great understanding of all of the technical aspects that are involved in the field of web development; however, it’s not the degree that many companies are looking for. To put in bluntly, they don’t care as much about your education background. They’re more concerned about if you know how to do your job well.

The process of learning web development has become accessible in many different ways. Web development is different from other fields because you can start on it right away. All you really need is an honest desire for learning and discovering the world of web development. There’s a wealth of resources online that’ll help to get you started on your path. The only person who will get in the way of your learning is you.

About This Web Development Guide

This guide offers the most insightful articles, educational videos, expert insights, specialist tips and best free tutorials about web development from around the internet. The learning guide is split into four levels: introduction, basics, advanced and expert. You can learn at your own pace. Each item shows an estimated reading or watching time, allowing you to easily plan when you want to read or watch each item. Below you’ll find a table of contents that enables you to easily find a specific topic you might be interested in.

15 items | 126m read
10m read | Basics

History of the World Wide Web

The web is a wonderful place. It connects people from across the globe, keeps us updated with our friends and family, and creates revolutions never before seen in our lifetime. It has certainly come a long way since its humble beginnings back in the early 1980’s.

In this article I’m going to look at the journey the World Wide Web’s gone through to become the powerhouse that it is today and establish what we can learn from the past.
9m read | Basics

The Difference Between Web Design and Web Development

The arguments of web designer vs. web developer are always non-stopped.

Web designers and developers are always playing an indispensable role in the digital world. I hope this article clarified the differences between the web designer and web developer and will help you to decide how to make a choice between them.
7m read | Basics

The Evolution of Web Development

At the heart of the interaction with the internet are web applications. It is through these web applications that the end user is able to receive the services they seek in the form that they can relate to. Web applications are the drivers of information in the internet world, as they are used to acquire as well as present data. In this article, we are going to take a look at some of the important steps that web development has undergone so as to ensure that web applications keep up with the fast changing digital age.
14m read | Basics

How Does the Internet Work?

The Internet’s growth has become explosive and it seems impossible to escape the bombardment of’s seen constantly on television, heard on radio, and seen in magazines. Because the Internet has become such a large part of our lives, a good understanding is needed to use this new tool most effectively.

This whitepaper explains the underlying infrastructure and technologies that make the Internet work
6m read | Basics

How Do Websites Work?

Before you begin creating your own website and launch it to the Internet, it’s important to know how websites work.

Here are some basic terms:

A website is simply a collection of web pages of codes – codes that describes the layout, format and content on a page.

The web server is a internet-connected computer that receives the request for a web page sent by your browser.

The browser connects your computer to the server through an IP address. The IP address is obtained by translating the domain name. (Don’t worry, this part is all done automatically by your browser so you don’t have to look up the IP addresses yourself.)
8m read | Basics

What is a Web Page?

A web page or webpage is a document commonly written in HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) that is accessible through the Internet or other networks using an Internet browser. A web page is accessed by entering a URL address and may contain text, graphics, and hyperlinks to other web pages and files. The page you are reading now is an example of a web page.
7m read | Basics

What is a Web Browser?

Alternatively referred to as a web browser or Internet browser, a browser is a software program to present and explore content on the World Wide Web. These pieces of content, including pictures, videos, and web pages, are connected using hyperlinks and classified with URIs (Uniform Resource Identifiers).
4m read | Basics

What is Web Content?

There is a saying in the web design industry that “Content is King or Queen.” Any web designer working in the industry has undoubtedly heard this phrase, along with the simple truth that web content is the reason why people come to the web pages you develop.
8m read | Basics

The Web Content Development Process

People don’t want to be sold to. They want to do their own research and make their own informed decision.

So, how do you connect with those potential buyers while they’re in the decision making phase?

You serve them the content they’re searching for, when they’re searching for it. This allows publishers to control the sales conversation so that readers purchase from you instead of your competitor.

One of the most effective ways to control the sales conversation is through content development.

This article explains the basics of content development.
3m read | Basics

How to Improve Your Web Development Workflow

For many clients, the development phase may seem like the quieter time of the website creation process. However, there is a lot going on behind the scenes at this point in the project, and issues during the development process can quickly cause a project to stray from the set schedule or budget.

To ensure the process goes smoothly, it’s important to employ the right tools and techniques for the job. Use the following tips to help improve the efficiency of your web development workflow.
5m read | Basics

What is HTML?

HTML is a computer language devised to allow website creation. These websites can then be viewed by anyone else connected to the Internet. It is relatively easy to learn, with the basics being accessible to most people in one sitting; and quite powerful in what it allows you to create.
15m read | Basics

How to Create a Simple Web Page with HTML

This article teaches you how to write a simple web page with HTML (hypertext markup language). HTML is one of the core components of the World Wide Web, making up the structure of web pages. Once you’ve created your web page, you can save it as an HTML document and view it in your web browser. Creating an HTML page is possible using basic text editors found on both Windows and Mac computers.
7m read | Basics

An Introduction to CSS

In late 1996 CSS (Cascading StyleSheets) became a reality, forged by our good friends the » World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). Your stylesheet acts as a partner to your HTML code; taking care of all the layout, fonts, colours and overall look of your site.

If you ever decide to change the look of your site, you modify that one CSS file (your style sheet) and all the HTML pages reading from that file will display differently. This makes maintenance of your design much easier.
16m read | Basics

Evolution of CSS Layout Detailed by Example

All of the layout techniques will focus on achieving a similar layout: 3 photos displayed horizontally with space between and around them. Underneath each photo will be some text. A Github repository with all the code is available. For each technique, there will be a section of HTML code and a section of CSS code.

At the end of the this smorgasbord of layout techniques, we’ll look for similarities and differences and answer the question — which should we be using?
7m watch | Basics

HTML CSS Tutorial for Beginners

This 7-minute video makes how CSS works easy to understand…it’s just styles added to your page. You can do a lot with them, but at the end of the day, there’s very little you have to know about CSS itself to start using it.
8 items | 82m read
5m read | Advanced

The Difference Between Server-side Scripting and Client-side Scripting

Client-side scripting and server-side scripting works in a coordinated manner with each other. However, both the scripting techniques are very different, where the client-side scripting emphasize on making the interface of the web application or website more appealing and functional. Conversely, server-side scripting emphasizes on the data accessing methods, error handling and fast processing etcetera.
8m read | Advanced

The Pros and Cons of Client-side Rendering and Server-side Rendering

It makes sense that server-side rendering is slowly beginning to take a backseat to the ever-growing method of rendering webpages on the client-side.

So which method is the better option? As with most things in development, it really depends on what you’re planning on doing with your website. You need to understand the pros and cons, then decide for yourself which route is best for you.
31m read | Advanced

The Fundamentals of Mobile Web Development

Web Fundamentals is a set of use case led documentation covering a range of topics. The core goal is get developers from little or no knowledge, to implementing best practices as quickly as possible.

One of the main goals of Web Fundamentals is to ensure that if you are new to a topic, the guidance reduces “choice paralysis” as much as possible. Addy Osmani covers this perfectly over at Pastry Box.
2m watch | Advanced

What Is Responsive Web Design?

The internet is no longer used primarily desktop computers and the internet usage on mobile devices is increasing every day. If you don’t want to loose potential clients then you need a great looking website with responsive web design, i.e. optimized for mobile browsing. Responsive websites adapt their layout to the device they are being viewed on, whether it’s a desktop, laptop, tablet or smart phone. This makes it easier for visitors to read and navigate a website without having to constantly pan and resize the screen.
11m read | Advanced

Excellent Examples of Responsive Web Design

Responsive web design has reached critical mass. It’s now standard practice to create a consistent, yet tailored, experience across every device—including those that have yet to be released.

But what is responsive web design? And what are the best examples of mobile responsive web design in practice?
5m read | Advanced

Responsive vs Adaptive Web Design

The rush to mobile dev has led many web developers to the holy grail of mobile design: the world of responsive vs adaptive. Which one do you choose?

Tallying up the score, responsive web design is almost always the safer option to go with for your site. It always functions well regardless of what new screen sizes come and go, improves loading times, and is usually well worth the extra effort in putting it together.
4m read | Advanced

Responsive Web Design Vs. Progressive Web Apps

Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) have been the basis for a new debate over whether responsive web design is even still good enough for websites, or if everyone should just move toward PWAs instead. But we’re going to dive in and put our foot down.
16m read | Advanced

How Much Does A Website Cost?

How much a website should cost is a very generic question – it lacks specifics. It’s the same as if I were to ask you how much should a car cost?

Uh… well, can you be more specific?

What type of car do you want? – Does it need to be gas efficient? – What do you use it for? – What is your budget?

You can quickly see “how much does a car cost?” is actually quite a pretty complex question after all.

Simply put, the cost of building your website boils down to 4 resources:

— Time
— Technical knowledge (or your interest to learn to code)
— Design skills (or your willingness to learn design)
— Money
9 items | 106m read
10m read | Expert

The Web Design & Development Industry

The industry is still growing just by numbers. Enterprises, organization and people all around the world want to be presented on Internet. Younger population will drive this growth in the future. Mobile and tablet usage is expanding the time when people use Internet. So we are spending more and more on Internet while we are not sitting in front of the desktop computer.
8m read | Expert

Tips for An Aspiring Web Developer

So you want to be a web developer…excellent choice! It’s a very rewarding position that can be a lot more fun than most other programming jobs. However, before you take the plunge into a career in web development, there are a few things you should probably consider.
12m read | Expert

How to Start a Web Development Business

Web development companies differ significantly from web design businesses, in that a web design company creates layouts and visuals for a website owner. The web designer is more concerned with user interface and design, while a web developer creates software and applications that power the website using basic and advanced coding. However, some developers offer both design and development services.
5m read | Expert

Tools That Will Make Your Web Development Workflow More Efficient

Any tools that can help improve your agency’s workflow management process and simplify task management are greatly valued.

Every developer, as they move through the ranks from junior to senior status, relies on their stack — a collection of go-to tools to help them get stuff done. Here are 10 tools that you might want to incorporate into a stack of your own.
9m read | Expert

Latest Web Development Trends

Web development trends change to a greater or lesser extent every single year. For decision-makers, it’s vital to be familiar with them for at least two reasons: to sustain ever-rising competition and to sharpen the knowledge.

To save your time and provide a concentrated piece of information about web development trends, we’ve analyzed market demands in different fields of the IT industry and made up this list based on them.
12m read | Expert

The Future of Web Development

Looking into the past, we’ve come from JQuery all the way to React, and are on the verge of the age of web-components and ES modules.

Just imagine how great it will be to have robust and modular apps. To never have to write the same code twice. To be able to deal with code in an easier and more friendly way. To focus more on logic and composition, rather than on the implementation and integrations details of what we’re building.
30m read | Expert

HTML, CSS & JavaScript Tutorials

Whether you’re just getting started with Web development, or are just expanding your horizons into new realms of Web awesomeness, the links here should help you get started.
10m read | Expert

Further Reading: Best Web Development Books

Web Design with HTML, CSS, JavaScript and jQuery Set. This two-book set combines the titles HTML & CSS: Designing and Building Web Sites and JavaScript & jQuery: Interactive Front-End Development. Together these two books form an ideal platform for anyone who wants to master HTML and CSS before stepping up to JavaScript and jQuery.

Learning Web Design: A Beginner’s Guide to HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and Web Graphics. This friendly guide is the perfect place to start. You’ll begin at square one, learning how the web and web pages work, and then steadily build from there. By the end of the book, you’ll have the skills to create a simple site with multicolumn pages that adapt for mobile devices.

Web Development and Design Foundations with HTML5. This book introduces HTML and CSS topics such as text configuration, color configuration, and page layout, with an enhanced focus on the topics of design, accessibility, and Web standards. The text relates both the necessary hard skills (such as HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript) and soft skills (design, e-commerce, and promotion strategies) considered fundamental to contemporary web development.

Learning PHP, MySQL & JavaScript: With jQuery, CSS & HTML5. Build interactive, data-driven websites with the potent combination of open source technologies and web standards, even if you have only basic HTML knowledge. In this update to this popular hands on guide, you’ll tackle dynamic web programming with the latest versions of today’s core technologies: PHP, MySQL, JavaScript, CSS, HTML5, and key jQuery libraries.

10m read | Expert

Further Learning: Best Web Development Courses

Web Design for Everybody: Basics of Web Development & Coding by the University of Michigan. This course covers how to write syntactically correct HTML5 and CSS3, and how to create interactive web experiences with JavaScript. Mastering this range of technologies will allow you to develop high-quality web sites that, work seamlessly on mobile, tablet, and large screen browsers accessible.

Programming Foundations with JavaScript, HTML and CSS by Duke University. Learn foundational programming concepts (e.g., functions, for loops, conditional statements) and how to solve problems like a programmer. In addition, learn basic web development as you build web pages using HTML, CSS, JavaScript. By the end of the course, you will create a web page where others can upload their images and apply image filters that you create.

The Web Developer Bootcamp. When you’re learning to program you often have to sacrifice learning the exciting and current technologies in favor of the “beginner friendly” classes. With this course, you get the best of both worlds. This is a course designed for the complete beginner, yet it covers some of the most exciting and relevant topics in the industry.

The Complete Web Developer Course 2.0. Designed for you—no matter where you are in your coding journey—this next-generation web developer course is overflowing with fresh content. Jam-packed with high-quality tutorials. And crucially, features the most advanced, hot-off-the-press software versions.

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