What Is Web Development? History of Web Development

The creation of attractive, search engine-optimized websites or web portals is a task for experts. Having a web portal created and commissioning web agencies or freelancers with the web development brings the advantage for their clients that the page can be tailored precisely to the ideas and target group. In addition to the development of a website, many web agencies also offer its maintenance or further development.

Definition web development

Web development is a wide field, which is why it initially makes sense to consider this word combination separately. When we colloquially go “on the Internet”, we mean in most cases the “World Wide Web” (www.), Which is the most common form of use of the Internet. By definition, the Internet is a network infrastructure, whereas the Web is a software infrastructure that has existed since the 1990s and consists of websites that are linked to one another via hyperlinks.

Developing something is the process of creating or improving it. If we speak of web development, this would strictly speaking mean the creation or improvement of websites or web-based applications (so-called web apps or web applications). The areas of competence of developers and web development company mostly go beyond this and also extend to the technical development of other products, such as in the area of software or mobile applications. Ultimately, it can include everything in the void of software solutions and digitization.

It makes sense to think of the external appearance of the keyword website first, which is the first thing that catches the eye. This is part of the area of responsibility of web design, which deals with the conception and implementation of graphics, the coloring and the visual design of websites in general.

But here, too, the transitions are fluid: web designers sometimes take on technical development in addition to graphics, and web developers also take on the design of their projects. When working with an internet agency, you usually come across both professions that work together on the implementation of websites and other digital projects.

Different technologies and programming languages are used for technical implementation in web development. While there are programming languages that have been specially developed for web applications, such as PHP, the boundaries are becoming increasingly blurred. Web technologies can be used in a wide variety of scenarios today. Even programming interfaces, so-called APIs, can be developed using web technologies. This is due to the high variability of programming languages – as soon as logical queries are possible, there are almost no limits.

History of web development

The World Wide Web


The area of web development is still a comparatively young discipline. It started around the 1990s. Before that, Tim Berners-Lee, an employee of the Swiss physics laboratory CERN, invented the World Wide Web in 1989. His idea was an international data exchange between scientists, which should be implemented via HTTP pages that were linked via hyperlinks. A steadily growing network quickly emerged, including technology nerds with the programming of their own websitescontributed a large part.

These were either blogs, i.e. personalized link collections with diary-like entries, or simple HTML tables. Over time, more and more dynamic content was created using databases, but web development was less mass-compatible and more of a niche.

With the creation of WordPress in 2003, the website market exploded. Word press was initially a platform for blogs, but increasingly developed into a content management system, or CMS for short, which, thanks to its user-friendly user interface, requires almost no programming knowledge and thus makes website creation easier. This principle was followed by other providers, so that laypersons could now build websites with countless CMS and website building blocks.

Web 2.0


In 2004 the first social network was founded: With Facebook and other social media, a new era of the web was dawning, in which interaction was now very important. This is also noticeable in web development, so that more and more social functions are being integrated on websites.

Web 2.0 heralds the age of user-generated content: Instead of passive consumption and one-sided communication of static websites, it is characterized by collaborative use, as a result of which more and more content is no longer generated only by website operators but by users.

Web 3.0


As a logical consequence of this development, the network is flooded with information and content. In order to deal with this large amount of data, also known as big data, and to create order, technologies and artificial intelligence are developed that are intended to link the content with meanings.

This is why this third phase of the web is not only called Web 3.0, but also semantic web. Personalized search engine results that are derived from user behavior – e.g. which search queries are made, which websites are visited and which services are used – and tailored advertisements for products in which the user is interested or could be interested are only part of this. In addition, searches should no longer just generate results based on keywords, but also include meanings or interpretations instead of just providing information. For example, it is no longer just information about Cologne Cathedral who is looking for the exact wording, but also who is looking for historic buildings in North Rhine-Westphalia.


Web development has gone through an immense change in a very short time. While it has developed from a niche discipline to the tools of many autodidacts and prosumers of Web 2.0, it is in upheaval again today. The tools for web development, such as development frameworks, are developing and CMS, steadily increasing and thereby becoming more user-friendly, however, the viewing habits are quite different nowadays:

With increasingly professional looking websites equipped with the most modern functions, the demands of the users also increase. Even untrained eyes can usually distinguish a modular website from a professionally developed one at first glance. This also brings additional advantages in terms of functionality, data protection and topicality. That is why the trend is once again towards placing a website in the hands of a web agency.