What is Web Development? - Tools & Overview

Instructor: Lonny Meinecke

Lonny teaches psychology classes at King University, and has a bachelor's degree in IT and a doctorate in psychology.

In this lesson, we will briefly explore the field of web development. We'll look at what it is, who can do it, what can be done with it, and some of the tools of the trade.

What is Web Development?

Web development simply refers to the creation and editing of web sites, like those you typically encounter while browsing the World Wide Web (the Internet). Does this mean web development only refers to really complex web pages that are part of large, business web sites? Not at all - web development can refer to a site on the Internet that is made up of just one web page composed of plain old text. Here's an example:

A simple web page with the code above and the appearance online below
plain text web page

On the other hand, yes, web development can also entail those fancy web sites that calculate mortgages, host user groups, offer online education, or allow merchants to sell their stuff online. Web development is any work someone does that is meant for publication on the Internet.

Who Does Web Development?

Nowadays, anyone can be a basic web developer, including someone like you or I. Many providers not only host your web site for you, they provide free design tools too. Information on how to make web pages is everywhere, including lessons here at However, you and I are unlikely to spend the time (and money) needed to create a large business website with a searchable database of products, and a secure way for users to complete credit card transactions. Think how much work and knowledge that would take?

So, a web developer can also be a skilled professional who works at a big company, works remotely for a big company, or works as a freelance developer whenever someone needs a web site designed or created. There is quite a demand for new or redesigned web pages, web sites, and web tools, from the simple desire to announce a family event, to the need to deliver a business solution to a huge audience.

What's Involved in Web Development?

There is quite a bit involved in web development, if what's needed is a complex, professional solution. For that, you need designers and coders and much more. However, in most cases, we could say that mostly what's involved includes four things: web code, graphics, testing, and how to deliver (publish) the final product.

  • Web code is the special language used to tell browsers how to display web pages. Web pages are made up of content and formatting. The most common web coding language is called HTML (Hypertext Markup Language), and is really just plain old text saved in a computer file, with some additional abilities to allow formatting and some interactivity.

For example, the text you are reading right now can be in many different fonts, with many different colors, sizes, or styles like bold or italic. HTML allows the web developer to suggest to users' web browsers exactly what that text should look like. HTML can also describe how to display pictures, and what to do when a user hovers over an underlined word and clicks on it (that's called hypertext).

HTML hyperlink code above, appearance online below
HTML hyperlink example

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