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The Growth and History of Website Development Never a Dull Moment on the Wild and Woolly Internet
The Internet Laid the Foundation for Web Development
The "web" is one of many services which use the Internet. Other services include email, FTP (file transfer protocol), and Usenet Newsgroups. The World Wide Web allows for the transfer and display of information in what are called web pages which include graphics, form elements, text and hyperlinks for interlinking various parts of the web, both within a specific website and between websites.

Before the web, we had online bulletin boards which were text-only screens and key-coded menu items for navigation. Popular amongst geeks, such bulletin boards gave only a taste of the potential available from the interconnectedness sweeping the planet.

Imagine, for a moment, that a website is like a building or house with a specific address, and each of the web pages is like a room of that building or house. Pictures and text are artefacts within each room. Hyperlinks are merely instructions for going to a different room or even a different building.

The Internet was the physical and logical mechanisms for connecting computers. And the web became the most visible aspect of that connection.

Simple Website Development
The most basic web development includes merely a single page of text with a minimum of coding so that a web browser knows what to do with it. The first web browsers didn't even have a back button and lacked much of the functionality which today we take for granted.

In the interest of making such pages more attractive, primitive instructions were included in the hypertext mark-up language (HTML) which would allow for the use of,
• Colour (words and background),
• Various typestyles (fonts),
• Horizontal rules, and
• Tabular material.

The Need for More in Web Development
Corporate interests discovered the potential of the Internet and began establishing beachheads in the virtual world for selling their wares and their services. Their presence helped to drive new developments for web technology. Browsers kept improving and additions were being made to the languages used on the web — HTML, CSS, Javascript, PHP, Perl and many others.

Soon, the entire architecture of web pages began to change. For instance, the early use of tables to control placement of text, pictures and other items, was now replaced by DIV tags (markers within the text of a web page which tag the beginning and ending of a logical "division" or container) and the properties which defined them in CSS code, frequently in separate files dedicated to such code. As the nature of web pages became more complex, the skills and experience required to utilize all those tools increased, as well.

These days, technology like Ajax (utilizing code from both Javascript and PHP languages) allows for portions of a web page to be updated without requiring the entire page to be refreshed or reloaded. Such changes give the current web pages the appearance of greater and smoother interactivity, making them behave more and more like desktop applications, instead of the once clunky, text-driven data streams at the heart of it all. Now, web pages have become sophisticated, including lights, sound, multimedia and more.

Added Dimensions to Website Development
Today's websites are more than merely the pages that are displayed. The words, graphics, design, multimedia and hyperlinks are carefully sculpted with a greater mission in mind. They must be created in the context of relevance. If they are never seen, then they serve no purpose. So, web pages must attract attention. They must be found by their potential visitors. They must have links on other web pages which direct traffic to them. They must contain content that lets the search engines that they are valuable resources on their specific topics (keywords). All of these issues go into modern web development. It takes great skill to get a website and its pages on top and popularly in the public eye. And that's where seasoned web developers really shine.

The Growth and History of Website Development

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