Web Development Past, Present and Future


Web development services have always been in the limelight since the first website arrived 20 years after the Internet was born at CERN. Time Magazine even announced ‘Welcome to the Wired World’ when the millionth domain was launched in 1997. Since then, web development has evolved over the years, introducing the world to technologies like PHP, Web 2.0, and Cloud Computing. In order to understand the true power of web development, a look at the past, present, and future of this broad spectrum of services is necessary. The following outline will provide you with just that.

The Past of Web Development

The inventor of the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee, published the first website on August 6th, 1991 from a lab in the Swiss Alps. At the time, he used HyperText Markup Language (HTML) to write the browser and server software. When the HTML Internet draft expired, CHSS rose in popularity. Similar to today’s CSS, it ruled 1994 before giving way to Bert Bos’ Stream-based Style Sheet Proposal (SSP) in 1995. However, HTML made a comeback and its second version, which was completed in 1995, became the basic standard on which future implementations were based. HTML continued strongly after 1997’s HTML 3.2 release and 4.01 release in 1999. However, other languages came in between, including CSS, ECMA-262, and WCAG.

When it came to using these, presentational data was used for what is now the job of style sheets. Meanwhile, scripts manipulated document contents as well as eyes, causing structure and presentation to overlap. This went against the ideal world theory where maintainable web development is achieved by separating structure, presentation, and behavior while ensuring minor overlap for the sake of integration and interfaces. However, this is understandable considering the technology limitations and support limitations arising from incomplete, inconsistent, or non-interoperability. Low output quality was another issue that arose due to inaccessible, unmaintainable, or invalid code. Finally, experience was very bad because of the lack of awareness of usability and the slow performance of bloated sites and slow connections.

After the threat of the Y2K bug was well over, web developers put their heart and soul to separate behavior, structure, and presentation to achieve the ideal world. XHTML versions 1.0, 1.1 and 2.0 followed by WCAG 2.0 gave developers the chance to let behavior move over to manipulate more documents in an obtrusive way. Structure and presentation didn’t overlap as much since developers were using less presentational markup. Still the same issues were there. There weren’t sufficient features for web applications and support was still limited since implementations were incomplete. However, while output quality remained low, experiences became suboptimal as Internet speeds increased. Slow, bloated sites along with the lack of awareness of usability still continued plaguing developers.

The Present of Web Development

From 2010 through today, CSS and HTML 5 became an integral part of every web developer’s toolkit. These and other technologies that came in between allowed the separation of structure, presentation, and behavior, leading developers to slowly achieve the ideal world and setting them on the path to succeed in the coming years. Though many of the issues continued over the years, developers grew more committed to standardizing procedures and creating non-volatile best practices, especially for accessibility, performance, and maintainability.

The present also witnesses the rise of mobile web, directing developers to learn how to create websites and web apps for the users. Though Nokia commercially offered the technology for the first time in 1996, it took almost a decade and a half to become popular. One of the factors that made this evolution possible is the arrival of XHTML at the time. However, new mobile devices and their browsers can now support a range of web formats, including HTML variants that were used by desktops. Still, there are a few limitations developers have yet to overcome, including small screen size, lack of cookies, slow service, and cost of mobile Internet in some parts of the world where a flat fee per month isn’t offered.

The Future of Web Development

In the future, web development is in for a rapid change. The industry has now expanded to include new platforms such as the javascript frameworks and reach out to new audiences. With the increase of mobile products, web developers will be challenged to build sites that run EFFECTIVELY on both desktops and smartphones. To reduce the burden on their shoulders, languages are expected to grow easier. Take for example Python; the programming language is very easy to understand since it reads like a language rather than a program. Combined with hardware’s increasing power, future developers won’t need to worry about tech specs as much.

Further helping developers gain new skills is the growth of open dynamic communities that expertly tackle all the aspects of web development. There are numerous groups and meet-ups designed to bring together developers and allow them to discuss different tools. New developers are encouraged to attend these events to get their feet wet and/or secure projects, which can deepen their knowledge and expertise. And yes, jobs are plenty in this industry thanks to buyers and sellers’ increased reliance on the Internet.

The Takeaway

Web development is a constantly evolving field and a vast industry which can take years to master. Even then, new technologies and paradigms are bound to make their way to you. What you need to do is learn as much as you can and be open to all the innovations coming your way. Only then can you truly become an in-demand developer and a good candidate for any job. And don’t worry. With different tools readily available, you won’t even need to cram huge textbooks to learn the know-how of different platforms, or how to create profitable web apps and sites for your clients.

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