Choosing the Right Kind of Development Server

If you are a dedicated web designer, you know the importance of having a development server. Local server is the very best option for alpha and beta development because you can test, run, execute, and tinker with your project to make sure that everything works fluently. Once you flesh out all of the major and severe bugs and possible security exploit, it’s time for testing using a live server, and this is going to be a tough part if you lack knowledge. But worry not for when you finish reading this post, you’ll be a master of this art. Let us begin.

web development

The Importance of Developing Locally

Before you dive into getting a live development server, always remember that nothing beats developing or designing websites locally. If you develop live, you’re just going to stress your server and consume your bandwidth because you will have to test the website every now and then. In addition to that, it can also be a hassle because you will have to upload and download files, unless you are comfortable on writing codes using your web browser. So, developing locally is a very fast option for a new project from scratch.

Shared Web Hosting Option

If you are designing and/or developing themes, plugins, or add-ons for a particular CMS like WordPress or Drupal, shared web hosting option is one of your best bet. You don’t need a powerful server to test out themes and plugins in a live server environment. All you need to do is to make sure that they still work perfectly, properly and as intended on a live server environment. Therefore, for CMS theme and plugin design and development, shared web hosting is enough.

VPS Web Hosting

This is one of the best hosting option if you are building custom web applications and designing medium sized websites. After you’ve polished out the core of your website on a local server, it’s time to migrate your project to a virtual private server. A VPS is capable of handling medium load and processing files. You can also install additional software that could help you troubleshoot, improve, and edit your website. Plus, you get to have FileZilla or Putty access for more control over your website development.

Dedicated Server

This isn’t a viable option for indie developers or small to medium sized projects. Only consider this one if you want to test an enterprise level web application because they have the most powerful hardware you can get. You can create a web application that eats a bunch of resources and optimize it down, or you can build a large database-intensive CMS for a custom solution.

Responsive Web Design

More than half of the Internet traffic nowadays takes place on mobile devices.  We are talking cell phones and tablets.  The concept f Responsive Web Design started to become popular when devices started to allow more flexibility to optimize web navigation for mobile users.  For instance, web designers realized that a new and more practical approach was needed for the ever-changing mobile technology that allowed users to go from portrait to landscape.  This posed a challenge to designers which started to wonder how overwhelming creating a different program for every consideration would be.

This is how responsive web design was born.  The concept refers to the optimization of a website to make it fit into the now-wide range of devices with a minimum scrolling, resizing and panning.  This software, therefore, is flexible and automatic.

Developers soon realized that they would not be able to customize web designs to every single new device coming out.  The solution then was to allow the layout to easily adapt to all designs.

This is achieved by applying some techniques:

Fluid grid

Instead of using points or pixels as determinants of sizing, responsive web designers use relative units, such as percentages or ems.  This same concept is applied to images. This allows images to become optimized and not limited by their element.

Media queries

This module is what makes RWD possible.  It allows content to adapt to the conditions and resolution of the device where a website is opened.  It is a CSS3 module that was suggested to become the standard in June 2012.  Media queries are made of a media type along with media features.  The result resolve to either being true or false.

What is the impact of responsive web design to design in general?

It goes without saying that RWD has become almost indispensable to any website marketing campaign.  Having a web design that is flexible and adapts has become the standard that separates websites with a clean SEO from those that do not.

Google, for instance, is now ranking higher those sites that were opened from a mobile device more time, providing a great reader´s experience.  This causes those websites without a mobile version to rank lower than those that do.

But RWD is not an end in itself as proponents are coming up with ideas that provide an even better mobile experience, such as Luke Wroblewski’s suggestion of RESS (responsive web design with server-side components).  This approach requires the conjunction between the devices differences and a device capabilities database via a server-based API.

The future holds new challenges to the idea behind RWD for web designers.  But the more this technology is required, the more it will continue to improve mobile user experience.



Skills of a Web Designer

If you are an aspiring web designer who wants to delve into the world of web design, you need to understand that web design is a very broad range of skillset that you need to learn. However, if you have no idea where to start or what things you need to learn, then it’s really a huge waste of time. Here, I will enumerate the skills that a web designer must have, at least two or three of these can be great. Here are some of the most important skills a web designer must have. But before we delve, I just want to make it clear that you don’t need to master each and every skill here, you need to focus on one or two to master and learn the basics of everything.


Of course, this is the very basic. Everyone who works online should know at least a little about HTML. This is an acronym for hypertext markup language, and is the structure of websites. If you think about websites as a building, HTML is the frame or foundations that hold the entire building in order for it to take shape.


CSS is another technology or web language that is often accompanied by HTML. You could say that they are a lovely couple because HTML and CSS are really built for one another. CSS is the one who sets the design rules or the language you use to add a presentation or design to your HTML. By the way, CSS means cascading stylesheets. Back to the building theory, if HTML is the frame, CSS is the paint and design that will add beauty to your building.


JavaScript is different from the other two because you can consider it as a programming language. Well, in a better term and professional environment, JavaScript is a scripting language. This adds interactivity to your website. Things like form validation, click events, pop-ups and the like are made possible by JavaScript. Back to the building situation, if HTML is the structure, CSS is the design; JavaScript is the wiring and electricity that adds shine, beauty, technology, power and light to your building.


SEO and web design are two things that goes hand in hand because SEO needs to be incorporated into the website’s core codes. SEO is the acronym for search engine optimization and it’s a method of increasing your website’s visibility in search engines. Well, you could say that after your building is fully constructed, you need advertisements to make sure that your building gets known by people from all over the city.

There are other skills that a web designer needs to learn but these are the most important ones, especially HTML and CSS.

What is Web Design

This is one of the most common questions of beginners who want to delve into the world of web design. Even curious people and clients want to know, what is web design? If taken out of their context, web design is simply designing the web. But there is more to it that you ever thought it has. If we are going to take Wikipedia’s meaning about web design, we can see that it’s a very broad idea, a very large body of skillset. Here’s what Wikipedia says:

Web design encompasses many different skills and disciplines in the production and maintenance of websites. The different areas of web design include web graphic design; interface design; authoring, including standardized code and proprietary software; user experience design; and search engine optimization.

As you can see, web design is subdivided into many different areas of expertise and each of these varies in skill set, level of experience required and knowledge in different other things. In order to understand web design, we must first see its history.

A Very Brief History of Web Design

In the early days of the internet, all we can see are plain text and a few image. If you are an early internet adopter and you are old enough to see the advent of the internet or its very early periods, you can see that websites are plain, dry and “ugly”. There is no structure at all and all you can see are some images and possible quite few GIFs.

Then as time goes by, CSS was developed in order to add presentation to the layout. This made website more beautiful, better looking and more accessible. It added better visuals and websites started to be more useful with the addition of new HTML standards.

Then, after that, JavaScript came add merged into the world of websites. This gave birth a new combination: HTML, CSS and JavaScript and it allowed the creation of highly interactive websites that responds to the user’s actions accordingly. Add to it the Flash technology that allowed a number of multimedia elements to be embedded into websites.

Today, web design consists of HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript and even server-side elements to create beautiful and smart websites more interactive the ever. One example of a very modern website is Greenhousego:

The Current State of Web Design

As you can see in the last paragraph, Greenhousego is a modern website, which makes use of the latest web technologies. But in addition to those “basic” modern web technologies, frameworks like jQuery and Bootstrap are now present which makes use of the current web languages to create a framework or foundation, the basis for creating new websites. Plus, responsive web design is also a rising trends because of the increase in different devices that can access the internet. Responsive web design is a principle that dictates that websites should be able to display information seamlessly by resizing its elements to fit to a user’s screen size.

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