Web technology is a vast, multi-faceted concept that even the most sophisticated developers can sometimes get confused about.
Let’s break web technology down into an easier-to-understand metaphor by thinking about it as a new home that’s being built. No one would argue that there’s a relatively clear process for getting the house constructed properly and running smoothly.
When you build a house, you first start with the foundation. You pour the concrete, get the frame up, perhaps construct walls and place the windows and doors.
When we talk about HTML (or HyperText Markup Language), we’re talking about the foundation of a website, app or product. It’s static content. And while it’s visible, it’s not fully functional — or in the case of our house metaphor — livable.
You’ve got the structure of your house, but it’s lacking a little something. So you paint the walls, add rugs, hang pictures and add other decor. Now it’s more livable, more vibrant.
CSS (or Cascading Style Sheets) does the same thing to a website. It’s how HTML is displayed on a screen. This is where you’ll add your design elements: styling, fonts and colors. Now we’re getting somewhere.
OK, so you can’t just have a pretty house. It has to function properly too. So the electricity and circuit box are installed and plumbing is added, Now the house can actually run.
Now that your house is set up how you want it, it's important that you're able to be found — by utility companies, visitors, delivery services and more. So you are given an address that's specific to your house.
Your domain/IP address does something similar. Rather than it just being named "Your Company's Website," your IP address is a unique number that identifies your site. It's how people can actually find and traffic your site, and it connects your site with the rest of the world.
In order to get utilities to your house, the power lines and sewage lines have to connect to something. In order to really function properly, your house needs to be near enough to a power plant and treatment plant to be usable.
Your domain/IP address connects your website to a server/database. Without things like ISP terminals, there’d be nowhere for your website to be housed. It’s the final step in crafting a working website.
Just like a house requires regular maintenance and updating, a website is never really done, even after you complete the steps outlined above. With ongoing updates, fixes when things inevitably break and refreshes to stay current, you can have a beautiful website that adapts with the times.
Want to make a good first impression? Pay attention to your homepage (your users already are!). Here are some tips for great homepage design.
How do you make a minimum viable product that gets all parties' buy-in? You prototype. See why prototypes are a required step in app design.