The World Wide Web has come a long way from its relatively humble beginnings in the late 1980s as an information sharing tool for academics and scientists. Of course, there are still many websites dedicated to the sharing of academic and scientific information - this website being a case in point - but the range of web-based applications available today is truly staggering. You can play games, do your shopping, manage your bank account, arrange your holiday, download various kinds of media, enjoy online entertainment, keep up with friends and family - and much, much more - all via the World Wide Web.
The versatility of the modern World Wide Web, however, comes at a price. The consumer demand for streaming media alone has created a huge increase in the amount of Internet traffic. The organisations responsible for maintaining global network infrastructure have often struggled to keep up with demand, both in terms of the capacity of data communication channels, and the increased complexity involved in managing the transfer of data.
From our point of view as website developers, each new technical innovation potentially extends the range of skills needed to develop a website that is fit for purpose. Creating a personal website for your own enjoyment or to share with family and friends is often simply a matter of using the website creation tools provided by an Internet service provider or web hosting service. You provide the content in the form of text and images, and the website creation software does the hard work for you.
Creating a more sophisticated website is something that cannot usually be achieved using third party authoring alone, however. You will require at least a working knowledge of the technologies involved, and a few basic skills, if your efforts are to succeed.
At the time of writing there are nearly two billion websites in existence, and the number is rising (you can see how many websites there are at any given time here at the Internet Live Stats website). It is estimated, however, that less than two hundred million of these websites (about ten percent of the total) are actively maintained - an indication that, in at least some cases, the ambition of a would-be web developer may have exceeded their ability to deliver. You might also be interested in the following article published by Mill for Business:
Regardless of the nature of your project, there are some issues to consider before you even start. What is the purpose of your website? Who is the intended audience? Are you trying to project a particular corporate image? Are there any critical security issues you need to consider? What specialised skills will you need? And so on. In these pages we will try to help you answer these questions, and to acquire the skills that will enable you to produce websites that are both aesthetically pleasing and fit for purpose.