Technology pundits have constantly argued that the terms web development and web design are interchangeable with one another. I respectfully disagree and argue that though the terms may have been interchangeable in the past; they have long since become two terms completely separate from one another with different goals, standards, and philosophies behind them. Web development can be quickly defined as “a broad term for any activity related to developing a web site for the World Wide Web or an intranet. This can include e-commerce business development, web design, web content development, client-side/server-side scripting, and web server configuration”; whereas a definition of web design can be summed up as “a process of conceptualization, planning, modeling, and execution of electronic media content delivery via Internet in the form of technologies” (definitions courtesy of Wikipedia). We can take note of a couple of things simply from these simplified definitions. The first is that web design falls under the wing of web development and it is easy to see why many think the two are intertwined much like the concept that a square is a rectangle, but a rectangle is not a square. Web design is a part of web development, but not actually an essential part of developing the web.
Web design, more specifically website design, is a process of creatively visualizing and utilizing the tools and applications created by the web development process. Web design takes the development process one step further and often finds itself using these tools for ideas and applications vastly different than what they were intended for. A quick analogy would be that of how the plane engine made for war combat was used as the basis for the car engine we use in our every day lives. Web design has brought us things like the web 2.0 concept of user generated content; some thing that web development tools are capable of, though not intended for it specifically. Content management systems such as the ones talked about earlier provide the framework for social networking websites and blogs. Dynamic web pages which appeal to our aesthetic eye use frameworks set forth by web development tools yet take it one step further by using the tool to create a masterpiece of web design.
With all of America’s advances in web development it became easy to separate the two terms from their synonymous relationship; it has become a process of developing technologies and applications for the advancement of the World Wide Web. These technologies of course, can be adapted and used by anything related to the internet (such as websites) but is not merely limited to it. Content management systems (CMS) are one of the many examples of positive strides made in web development. CMS systems allow for easy management of content and data while online and can be used for simple server networking within an office, or as the backbone of an ecommerce website (voting systems in various states use CMS systems to tally and record votes via software). Web development also houses things such as the creation, modification, and innovation of scripting and coding languages. The adve