There is a lot of planning and preparation, meeting and discussion involved in creating a website from the ground up and in a re-design.  However, we will focus on the actual process of getting the website built in this article.

The web development process is one of the least understood processes in the workplace. In some organizations, web developers work directly with and report to marketing department heads.  In other organizations web developer positions are a part of IT.  Which is correct? This largely depends on whether your developer is involved in the marketing strategy or not.  It is a good idea for a web developer to understand Marketing in order to be effective at carrying out the strategy for the website.

When considering all of the preparation and planning that goes into the process of web development starting with the marketing department, some would be inclined to place the web developer in marketing.  However when considering the tasks specifically involved in developing the website, this position is easily placed in the IT department.

To properly determine where a web developer position should live, hiring managers need an understanding of what web development is. This will also help with hiring the right person for your department.

A web developer takes mocked up designs and converts them into code that our web browsers and mobile devices can interpret and display.

The web development process can be divided into phases. These phases can vary depending on whether you are developing a “static” website or developing the website into a content management system. A static website is just the coded version of your website which can only be edited by the web developer. To make a site more dynamic, it needs to be developed into a content management system.

Phases of Development

These steps can vary depending on whether the web developer has to create his or her own server environment.

  1. Coding: Convert the graphic mockup into an HTML mockup (HTML, CSS, Javascript).
  2. Testing: Test functionality. Developer testing. User testing. Submit for approval.
  3. Coding: Make corrections to errors found while testing. Add additional requirements if necessary.
  4. Testing: Test final changes and submit for approval
  5. Coding: Convert HTML Mockup to a CMS.
  6. Testing: Test changes and submit for approval.
  7. Coding: Fix errors and add any additional modifications.
  8. Testing: Submit development for final approval.
  9. Migration: Coordinate the move of site files to new server
  10. Security: Add additional security the website code to protect the site.
  11. Load Testing: Verify site can handle expected traffic.
  12. Launch: Set Go Live date with client and launch the site.

All of these functions of web development are done based on a specification document provided by the project manager.
To help with understanding the web development process, see the descriptions of the roles below. These are just a few positions involved in the overall website process. They vary dependent upon the organization.

  • Project Manager – manages and oversees the website project, meets with the client, writes the specifications and communicates with the developer and others on the project to ensure the project stays on track.
  • Web Designer/UI Designer – designs the website layouts, color scheme, etc.
  • Content Manager – responsible for adding the content to the site… may include creating additional layouts to accommodate the content.
  • Front-end Web Developer – responsible for coding the website using standard web practices, secure coding practices, and testing the code across multiple platforms. The front-end web developer handles the coding for all of the visual elements and interactions that go into a website. When this process is complete, the end result is a functioning HTML/CSS mock-up with any JavaScript interactions. This is known as the “static” version of the website.
  • Back-end Web Developer – the back-end web developer is responsible for coding the “dynamic” version of the website. This includes connecting the site to a database, developing the content management theme and page templates using PHP, ASPX or some other programming language. This is how the Content Manager or end user is able to update the content.
  • Full-stack Web Developer – handles the coding of the website from “front to back“, pun intended. They are responsible for both front-end and back-end web development.

There is no right or wrong process as long as it makes sense for the organization. There are a number of factors that determine how the process flows.