We all use the web every single day, but how many of us actually know how it works and the concepts used in it.

The Web

A British Computer Scientist, Berners Lee in 1989 set out to solve one major problem: how can we share and manage information throughout the world?At the very core of it, the Internet is just a series of computers connected by millions of cables. In contrast, the web consists of billions of digital pages that are view-able through web browsers on your computers.

We have these things called clients and servers that make the web possible.

Clients are essentially your devices. Anything you (the user) uses to connect to the internet is a client.

Servers are big computers that store web pages, data, etc. So, when you visit a website, your device talks to the server to get the web page you requested.

DNS stands for Domain Name Servers, and their only job is to take in a web address and retrieve the real website address. It’s essentially a big address book.

HTTP, or Hypertext Transfer Protocol, defines the language for clients and servers to communicate with.

TCP/IP, or Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol, define how data should travel through the web.

Let’s walk through the scenario of what happens when you type a website into your browser and hit Enter.

  1. Your browser heads over to the DNS server to find the real address of the server your requested website lives on. You can think of the address you type in to the search bar as the street address, and the address returned from the DNS server as the geographic coordinates of the same building. URLs (Universal Resource Locators) are useful for humans, because they’re easily memorizable. However, computers connect to other computers using IP addresses that look like this: 63.245.215.20.
  2. Next, your browser sends an HTTP request to the server asking if it can send a copy of the website back to your client device. The messages sent between the client and server are communicated through TCP/IP.
  3. Once the server approves the request, it sends a “200 OK” message, indicating that you’re allowed to view the website. If something goes awry, you’ll receive a different response code back. One of the more common responses you might get is a “404 Not Found” error.
  4. Lastly, the browser assembles the bits (chunks) of website into a full web page and displays it to you. When data is sent across the web, it’s sent in packets; small chunks of data. This is done so that many users can access the same content at the same time.

Front-end Development is responsible for developing the face of the web page that users interact with. Front-end development also functions as a bridge between design (research, user experience, visual) and back-end development.

Back-end Development is responsible for creating the computational logic behind a website or application.

The Importance Of Design

We often forget how vital design is throughout the application development process. What’s great about front-end development is that it allows you to bridge the gap between design and back-end development.Thus, it’s important for front-end developers (FEDs) to care about best UX and visual design practices.

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