Questions and answers

About web development

Is web development the same thing as web design?

No. Web design is mainly about the look and feel of a website or a web application, whereas web development is about the implementation. The confusion probably stems from the fact that in some organisations one person may be in charge of all website-related activities, covering both the website's design and its development. Even for web applications, the boundaries between the two disciplines are not set in stone: sometimes web design is viewed as part of the overall web development process, sometimes web development is viewed to encompass only the non-design aspects. In the book, web design is briefly touched upon when discussing the technologies (i.e. HTML, CSS and JavaScript) that sit at the intersection of the two disciplines.

Is web application design the same as web design?

No, and this also can be slightly confusing, because the same term, "design", is used to refer to two completely different things: the process used to develop the visual and user-facing part of a web application or website (which is web design), and the activities preceding the technical implementation of the application (web application design, which is actually a specialisation of software design).

Is web development the same thing as developing a website?

The term "web development" applies to the development of both websites and web applications. The topic of this book is web application development.

About the audience

I'm a beginner, can I read this book?

Yes, most definitely. In fact, if you're a beginner, then you're in luck as you haven't had the chance to build up bad habits. You can anticipate a long — albeit interesting — ride!

Is being a web designer helpful to read the book?

Being a web designer, you might already be familiar with some web technologies such as HTML, CSS and JavaScript (along with jQuery and its plug-ins) as well as the overall architecture of a web application. You have everything to learn about implementing the application, but your user-orientated perspective will give you a slight headstart as far as the functional design of the application is concerned.

I'm a non-web programmer or developer, what's in it for me?

If you're a non-web programmer or developer, then you obviously have an advantage when it comes to actually writing code and transitioning to a new programming languages, and perhaps you're already acquainted with practices such as behaviour-driven development and DevOps that are highly useful when working on web development projects, but there's still a long list of web-specific skills you'll need to pick up.

I've tried to follow web programming tutorials but I seem to be stuck, how will this book help me?

If you've already tried your hand at web development and recognise yourself in the vignettes depicted in the introductory section of the home page, then the typical bottom-up approach to self-taught web development isn't working for you, and you'll certainly find that the top-down approach taken by this book is instrumental in taking your web development to the next level — and in removing the experience of frustration in the process.

About the approach

What sets this book apart?

Rather than focusing on the syntax of programming languages and features of frameworks, Web Development in Real Life covers the full application development lifecycle in a top-down approach, from the idea to operations to ongoing maintenance and evolution, and gives you the knowledge you need to become proficient and efficient.

Will this book teach me a specific language or framework?

The examples that are given are based on popular tools and implementations, but their main purpose is to illustrate the topic under discussion, not to teach you the syntax (the references section of the book provides suggested reading for that).

I want to write my web application in language X or using framework Y. Wouldn't it be more efficient for me to get a book on X or Y?

This actually depends on your background: if you're an expert web developer then you probably already have a deep understanding of the topics covered in Web Development in Real Life and you just need to know how they're implemented in X or Y, so indeed go ahead and get a book on X or Y. In other cases you need to nail the concepts first. Once you get to the chapters on programming you should start reading some material on X or Y (offline and online reading suggestions are included in the references section of the book) to a) learn the syntax, features and gotchas of X or Y, and b) work on the exercises included in the book to practice what you've learnt.

Other questions

If you have any other questions drop me a line (go to the about the author page for contact details) and I'll get back to you.