A good looking responsive frontend, an agile and secure backend, a set of fast and reliable database and cache systems, the search engine and an ecosystem of opensource tools and libraries, are components in my toy box.
In good old days, web development was much simpler. A site was consisted of folders with html and image files in it. And then each html with a link to another one. Then there was the problem of how to change the look and feel of the whole website all together? And that some parts of a website was repeated on each and every page including header and footer. Then content management systems evolved. With their databases, backend and frontend. Meanwhile search engines also took more and more important role in the industry and thus sites start to become search engine optimized. Cool ideas like a flash only website with tones of animations or a single page all ajax website turned to be unfriendly when scanned by search engines. The war between sql and no-sql databases finally turned to an unwritten peace treaty where the first group took part of archiving data and providing statistical reports and the second group took part in fast representation of public parts of data to non-logged-in users and became what is known as “cache servers”.
Then there came payment gateways and ecommerce which blew wind into this already hot furnace of ideas and techniques. Making the web from a free media and news platform to a huge profitable market. Opensource and proprietary online shop platforms evolved relying on search engines and advertisements to attract buyers but there were also marketplaces with their marginal share of profits defining the rules of this game.
Software design patterns evolved a lot and helped in this between. Mobile devices changed both front-end and backend sides of web applications by enforcing frontend designers to build their pages responsive to different screen sizes and orientations and by enforcing backend developers to develop separate APIs for mobile applications.
Like every ecosystem in nature, parasites also evolved. Hackers, spammers, site crawlers, domain scalpers, DDoS attackers, and so on, brought website security consultants as well as law attorneys into the game. From binding parameters into a sql query to prevent injections, to GDPR and other privacy protection laws and regulations, web development is not just about code anymore.
What this already complex jungle of creatures and predators lacked was an underground network and an untraceable mean of transaction! Thus there came the tor network, the onion routing, darknet and cryptocurrencies to make the party rock!
Although I didn’t start web development very early in its timeline, but I’m glad to be part of this humanity most elegant evolutionary design process for a good portion of its history.