When most people think of web development, the first thing that comes into mind is making websites: the content, the structure, and the design. Lately however, this has become only a very small part of web development. With the use of different devices, users are consuming content and information from many sources - in various ways. Websites just aren’t enough anymore for the web. The web has gone from simply presenting static information to systems providing up-to-date, meaningful information. There is now immersive interactivity wherever you are, on whatever device you use.
In this three part series, I will go through a brief overview of just a few of the ways we utilize modern web development to do more than just make a website.
The goal of web services is not to simply present info to a viewer, but to provide information in a consumable manner: the right format at the right time to the right user. With web services we can aggregate information we need from databases, using logical calculations done on the server side or from other web services. We can manipulate that information as needed and provide it as info that drives a website, the data a mobile app needs to pull in, updates for desktop applications, and much more. You use these services every day with Gmail, Facebook, and many others.
Facebook for example, besides being a website, provides a service for collecting user information, connecting users together, updating statuses, images, videos, authentication systems, and more, so that when you view the website. All the information you want to know about your friends is front and center. As we put more information online, we will keep making new web services that interact and provide that data in meaningful ways.
One trend in developing web services is due to the rise of the cloud and the need for web development to utilize this to the fullest. Having your information in the cloud can often allow you to do away with limitations on scalability, redundancy, and geolocation issues. A web service may be built that acts an an API for this data, letting one source of data provide authentication services for other websites with OpenID and OAuth, providing content and images to a website blog, and aggregating analytics info to customize a mobile app experience.
Part 2 of Modern Web Dev Series: Web-Based Applications and Part 3 Web-Based Devices are now Live.
Rahul is a Front-End Developer at DOOR3. How do you think Web Services fits into modern web development?
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