Tutorials / HTML Tutorials / Intro to Web Development

Intro to Web Development

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Web development is a huge topic that covers lots of different things. Figuring out exactly where to start can be pretty daunting, so hopefully this tutorial series breaks things down for you and provides a good place to start.

In its most basic form, web development involves two things: a server and a client.

What’s a server?

A server is a computer that serves requests. Like a waiter serves you food, a server serves you html files, images, sounds, videos, etc.

Think of a server as a computer that fulfills requests. Most of the requests we’ll see are in the form of requests for files, but fancier servers fulfill requests for modifying databases, performing some logic, or streaming data.

But as long as you know that a server is a computer that serves files, you’ve got the basics.

What’s a client?

A client is whatever you’re using to interact with the internet. It’s your web browser. The web browser on your computer is one client, the web browser on your phone is another, etc. There are other types of clients (like watching Netflix or listening to Spotify), but we’ll focus on web browsers for now.

A web browser communicates with a server by sending it a request, usually based on the URL you typed into the address bar. The client sends the request for that file, and the server sends that file back.

The client is then in charge of rendering that file. We’ll get into that a bit more in the next tutorial.

What is web development?

Web development is writing the code that runs on either the server or client side. That’s a pretty huge genre, and can include things from database programming to JavaScript development.

This tutorial series focuses on the client side of web development. Even if your end goal is to learn about server side programming, you should first understand how the client works anyway.


The term hypertext means text that can link to other text using hyperlinks. That sounds obvious if you’ve spent a lot of time on the internet, but there are actually older examples of hypertext.

HTTP stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol, and is a way for two computers to send hypertext to one another. It’s how the server and client communicate, and the world wide web is built on top of this protocol.

HTML stands for Hypertext Markup Language, and is a way for humans to write markup language that computers can read to display hypertext. More on this in the next tutorial.


Over the next couple days, think about these questions:

  • What are some different ways you interact with the internet? What types of things are the server and client doing in each case?
  • What types of websites are you hoping to create?

Next: HTML isn’t a four letter word

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