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Ben Halpern
Ben Halpern

Posted on

What are some misconceptions about web development?

When people think "web development", what do they get wrong?

Top comments (133)

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buinauskas profile image
Evaldas Buinauskas

According to my mom, I'm installing Windows. πŸ€·β€β™‚οΈ

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stephanie profile image
Stephanie Handsteiner

According to everyone: I can fix printers.

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jrop profile image
Jonathan Apodaca

This. 1000 times this.

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alessandrojcm profile image
Alessandro Cuppari

According to everyone, I can fix their computers. If only they knew I can barely fix mine when it fails.

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patarapolw profile image
Pacharapol Withayasakpunt

I expect everyone to be at least electrical engineer and devops. I don't care about your coding.

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saswatamcode profile image
Saswata Mukherjee

HTML & CSS are not programming languages. Also frontend is easy and not time consuming.

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barbu110 profile image
Victor Barbu

They are not programming languages. Front end is easy as long as it’s not too complex. After that, it becomes a challenge indeed.

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cheetah100 profile image
Peter Harrison

HTML is a markup language. Javascript is a full on language. There was a time when front end development was second class, but today there is no real distinction between front end and back end in terms of skillsets.

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fluffynuts profile image
Davyd McColl

They are all programming languages. Some are declarative, some are imperative. A declarative language like CSS doesn't make it "less than" or not "full on".

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cheetah100 profile image
Peter Harrison

I didn't say CSS is less than. It has its function as a cascading style sheet in the context of HTML. HTML itself is a markup system for content, even if ironically the content these days is delivered through REST API more often than not. Front end development usually involves some kind of framework like Angular, Vue, or React. Each technology has its place. However, if you only know HTML and CSS I don't know how you would fare in a modern web application development environment.

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12boxbandit05 profile image
Christopher

I'm currently trying to self teach myself and if you wouldn't mind answering a beginner's question, what should I learn besides HTML and CSS? I had planned JS as my third lesson.

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fluffynuts profile image
Davyd McColl

JS is a good place to go next! You'll be able to use it almost immediately with the HTML/CSS knowledge you have, and, in addition, you'll be able to start doing back-end stuff on Node. If possible, get going with TypeScript -- there's a little extra overhead, but it will (a) help you to make fewer mistakes and (b) set you up for Angular or React (and you can use it effectively with Vue too, and on the backend!)

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jacoby profile image
Dave Jacoby

Just dropping into add that you can solve FizzBuzz with just HTML and CSS.

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guitarino profile image
Kirill Shestakov

If your definition of a programming language is "structured text which represents machine instructions", then, yes, HTML and CSS are programming languages. But, instead of imperatively saying "add an element X to parent Y", it's written declaratively as <Y><X></X></Y>. And, since there's no branching instructions in HTML, it's not turning complete.

Funny enough, under the same definition, markdown is also considered a programming language, meaning I just wrote a little program πŸ™‚

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martixy profile image
Martin Ninov

And if my grandma had wheels she would have been a bike.

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vadzimpm profile image
Vadzim Papou • Edited on

Yes - they aren't. To reduce misunderstanding you could translate what these acronyms stand for.

Hyper Text Markup Language and Cascading Style Sheet
Where did you see programming language here?

If they are programming languages then please show me how you will implement factorial algorithm with only HTML and CSS and I will agree with you.

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ashleyjsheridan profile image
Ashley Sheridan

HTML & CSS aren't programming languages. They're computer languages, but not programming languages.

Same with things like JSON, markdown, etc. They're no less valuable for that, and the web wouldn't be the web without them.

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pris_stratton profile image
pris stratton • Edited on

I came on to say β€œCSS is easy”.

I find it harder than learning Haskell or C πŸ˜€

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darkwiiplayer profile image
π’Š©Wii πŸ’–πŸ’›πŸ’šπŸ’™πŸ’œπŸ’πŸ’Ÿ

CSS is extremely difficult, specially to programmers, because it's a completely different way of thinking. At the same time, it's an extremely elegant language and I wish more programming languages had that same level of elegance.

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pris_stratton profile image
pris stratton

What makes it a different way of thinking, the declarative nature of the language? Think that’s the right term.

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darkwiiplayer profile image
π’Š©Wii πŸ’–πŸ’›πŸ’šπŸ’™πŸ’œπŸ’πŸ’Ÿ

Not only that, but also the non-linear aspect, I'd say.

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darkwiiplayer profile image
π’Š©Wii πŸ’–πŸ’›πŸ’šπŸ’™πŸ’œπŸ’πŸ’Ÿ

HTML and CSS are not programming languages. Front end is, however, just as time consuming as back-end.

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vaibhavkhulbe profile image
Vaibhav Khulbe • Edited on

I feel some recruiters think if they're hiring a web developer, they must be good at that AND:

  • Mobile app development
  • DevOps
  • Design (for full-stack web dev mostly)
  • And God knows what else! πŸ€·β€β™‚οΈ

I sincerely think they're in a great misconception. Come on man, I'm good at web dev that's why I want to _dev_elop a _web_site! I'm not good at Kubernetes!

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shaijut profile image
Shaiju T

:) But I think this is the Job of Full Stack Developer. Isn't ?

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scott_yeatts profile image
Scott Yeatts • Edited on

Yes, but also to varying degrees. I started in FE, but I'm also very comfortable building a backend codebase. I'm weaker with DB and devops.

Don't get me wrong, I can stand-up a DB and deploy kubernetes containers, but when you get into the deep understanding issues I lean on my teammates that have devoted more time to those disciplines.

Full Stack doesn't mean "knows everything at an advanced level" it just means you can be productive and contribute at any level (while knowing when to call for backup and not spinning your wheels when someone else could help you get there faster)

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vaibhavkhulbe profile image
Vaibhav Khulbe

Full Stack doesn't mean "knows everything at an advanced level" it just means you can be productive and contribute at any level

Highly agree with this. Thanks for your input :)

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jgusta profile image
jgusta

I’m going to use this phrase instead of full stack :)

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vaibhavkhulbe profile image
Vaibhav Khulbe

Well, for me as a front-end dev, all of those skills just doesn't make sense!

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micahlt profile image
Micah Lindley

That's what I originally thought about backend technologies. However, as I move into increasingly difficult frontend topics I've learned that having experience in Node, NPM, custom APIs, and other server-side is extremely beneficial.

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adrianbdesigns profile image
Adrian Bece

Before I started working with React, I was an ecommerce (Magento) frontend developer. At the time, when I was trying to explain frontend development to a person that doesn't know much about programming, it usually went like this.

Person: "So what is it that you do at your job?"


Me: "I develop websites, I turn design into code and make sure everything looks, and sometimes function, as expected.


Person: "So you're a designer, then?"

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feministclickback profile image
tina

When I was working at an ecommerce company, my relatives were convinced it was Amazon. The concept that there are Amazon-like online shops out there were a bit too hard to grasp ;)

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darkwiiplayer profile image
π’Š©Wii πŸ’–πŸ’›πŸ’šπŸ’™πŸ’œπŸ’πŸ’Ÿ

Basically another version of the typical

A: "So what do you do?"

B: "I'm a programmer"

A: "Oh, so you fix computers and stuff?"

B: "No, I... uh... just forget it."

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adrianbdesigns profile image
Adrian Bece

Something similar happened to me with an older neighbour.

A: "So what do you do?"

B: "I'm a programmer"

A: "Oh great! Can you fix my TV?"

That was back when CRT TVs were still a thing.

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darkwiiplayer profile image
π’Š©Wii πŸ’–πŸ’›πŸ’šπŸ’™πŸ’œπŸ’πŸ’Ÿ

It's not like I blame people for it, but it does make me wonder why nobody cares what programemrs really do yet I don't exactly see many people asking a carpenter to fix their car.

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gillarohith profile image
Rohith Gilla

When I say I am a web developer my little cousin thinks I am a spider man πŸ•Έ

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madza profile image
Madza • Edited on

When you start to catch up on all the JS frameworks, your cousin actually turns right :)

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patarapolw profile image
Pacharapol Withayasakpunt

web developer !== web emitter

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sergix profile image
Peyton McGinnis • Edited on

"So... I hear you write websites. Can you make me an app?"

People always assume, at least in my cases, that web development = native app development...

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maskedman99 profile image
Rohit Prasad

Well, if you know React you can say Yes :)

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somedood profile image
Basti Ortiz

"Sooo... you can hack a Facebook account, right?"

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hj profile image
Hemant Joshi • Edited on

Googling is most important skill to have and it really is❀️

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adam_cyclones profile image
Adam Crockett

I wasn't hired, Google was hired.

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hj profile image
Hemant Joshi

this surely made my day

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adam_cyclones profile image
Adam Crockett

Its not completely true, I am an experienced googler 🀣

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hj profile image
Hemant Joshi

Bro you need to stop, or I will stop learning Node and react!

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adam_cyclones profile image
Adam Crockett • Edited on

No please don't stop on my account, truth is I have been doing this a long time and I couldn't remember it all, there is just no way, but I can remember the topic or the right questions (the secret of success in programming, ask the computer the right question), so I use Google as it is a tool to get such answers, you as a programmer are expected to use the right tools for the job, brains often degrade over time.

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hj profile image
Hemant Joshi

❀️❀️❀️

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fratcliffe profile image
Felicity Ratcliffe (she/her)

This is absolutely true! :)

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hj profile image
Hemant Joshi

lol

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pandaquests profile image
pandaquests

But it is.

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muhimen123 profile image
Muhimen

I know HTML, time to hack NASA

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vicradon profile image
Osinachi Chukwujama

Web development is the core of software engineering

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thefluxapex profile image
Ian Pride • Edited on

Please explain what you mean for me. I started learning programming 20+ years ago from reading library books and a computer that had no internet for like the first year I had it. I got lucky to have the computer in the first place, but the web was even rarer and only suburban people could afford it and web development was just barely out of it's infancy. Even today where there are web apps everywhere there are exponentially more desktop apps. Most of the software I write and use has nothing to do with the web and even though, yes, I use the web to do research for software development; it's rare it has anything to do with it. I personally refuse to use web apps for things that have nothing to do with the web unless I have no other choice and it's something for legal or responsibility things. I try to open a browser as little as possible with the exception of research and a small amount of time daily I allot myself for free time.
If anything software engineering is at the core of web development, not the other way around.
This was not a rhetorical question, I really want to know what you mean as I can't fathom what it might be.

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fhsinchy profile image
Farhan Hasin Chowdhury

People often treat web application development as something inferior to making desktop software or mobile application.

I honestly don't know why.

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pandaquests profile image
pandaquests

Yeah. I think it used to be like that. But nowadays it is just as complex as backend development

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kevtiq profile image
Kevin Pennekamp

HTML & CSS are not programming languages

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gwutama profile image
Galuh Utama • Edited on

HTML itself is not turing complete. So it’s technically not a programming language. BUT when you mix CSS AND HTML they can be arguably turing complete.

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wayofthepie profile image
Stephen O'Brien • Edited on

I've never understood this argument. Where did the idea a programming language has to be turing complete to be a programming language, come from πŸ˜„

A good example is agda. Agda is a total language, its functions always terminate and cannot return a value other than the type specified. This property makes it non-turing complete.

I would still call it a programming language. There are many other examples.

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kevtiq profile image
Kevin Pennekamp

Agreed. I mean, even Pokemon Yellow is tiring complete

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ludamillion profile image
Luke Inglis

I think Turing completeness is more important when determining if a language is a β€˜general’ programming language as opposed to domain specific languages.

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adam_cyclones profile image
Adam Crockett

CSS especially, computations and variables and a limited form of logic.

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somedood profile image
Basti Ortiz

This right here hits the spot.

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darkwiiplayer profile image
π’Š©Wii πŸ’–πŸ’›πŸ’šπŸ’™πŸ’œπŸ’πŸ’Ÿ • Edited on

What you do with HTML and CSS is not programming, thus they are not programming languages.

Otherwise, as some have pointed out, markdown is also a programming language.

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elmuerte profile image
Michiel Hendriks

They're not, and I don't see why that even matters. C++ isn't a natural language. Assembly isn't a markup language. French isn't a formal language. Cuneiform isn't a spoken language.

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skydevht profile image
Holy-Elie ScaΓ―de

Can't be a programmer if you don't know a programming language.

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elmuerte profile image
Michiel Hendriks

So? Not every websites needs to be programmed. Plenty of people spend quite some effort to program tools which you can use to develop a website, without programming.
And there's a difference between developing the CMS and developing the layout and styling.

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skydevht profile image
Holy-Elie ScaΓ―de

I'm not saying it's bad. Just that people want the title of the programmer as soon as they learn HTML and it rubs them the wrong way when you say that HTML is not a real programming language.

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ludamillion profile image
Luke Inglis

Hence web developer πŸ˜‰

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heytulsiprasad profile image
Tulsi Prasad

That it is taught in college. Bye. πŸ‘‹

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ben profile image
Ben Halpern Author

It’s weird that the web has been around for a million years and colleges still treat it like a passing fad.

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Aniket • Edited on

Honestly, most courses that are taught in computer science courses are more or less of no use at all. I think the only relevant ones I was taught at my college were ds/algo and databases, which were very basic themselves (only oracle SQL server in DB. Nothing about scaling, NRDBMS, heck not even some other RDBMS like postgres .) I wish we were taught so much more, but for now, college looks like a necessary hurdle you have to jump through to even get a job and nothing more ( in my country at least )

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elmuerte profile image
Michiel Hendriks

Weird, when I did some database/RDBMS courses at the university almost 20 years ago we used PostgreSQL. Reasons:

  1. Gratis
  2. Most SQL standard conforming RDBMS
  3. Extensive featureset

So it was basically the most neutral RDBMS out there, and still is. It was about understanding SQL and RDBMS concepts, not learning Oracle, Sybase, or even PostgreSQL specifically.

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heytulsiprasad profile image
Tulsi Prasad

Yeah, I agree and also I think we're just in college for around 3-4 years but our career spans like for decades and we never can depend just on this couple years of college to know every thing in the industry. So, we always have to self teach ourselves.

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loujaybee profile image
Lou (πŸš€ Open Up The Cloud ☁️) • Edited on

Hrm, I graduated in 2014 and studied modern web development at the time, JavaScript, JQuery and CSS, LAMP stack were all covered alongside typical computer science topics. My university is top <10 in the UK.

That said, this is only my anecdotal experience, my opinion is also too that universities are considerably less vocational than other options, but the debate is still relevant: should they be?

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sergix profile image
Peyton McGinnis • Edited on

I agree. It's so strange how many universities only focus on OOP, systems programming, etc (which are very important) but barely paying any attention to the massive shift to the web in software development. It's not like it's anything new.

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jcs224 profile image
Joe Sweeney

"So, that means you can fix my printer, right?"

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adam_cyclones profile image
Adam Crockett

Sigh, I often do...

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jrop profile image
Jonathan Apodaca

That "front-end" is easier than "back-end".

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darkwiiplayer profile image
π’Š©Wii πŸ’–πŸ’›πŸ’šπŸ’™πŸ’œπŸ’πŸ’Ÿ • Edited on

That "front-end" is "front-end". Like, seriously, if you're managing application state, you're writing back-end code, even if it runs in the browser.

🌚 Browsing with dark mode makes you a better developer by a factor of exactly 40.

It's a scientific fact.