The Web and How it Works

The Web and How it Works

This was turned into a full blog post here:

Whatever your role at Cantilever, it is helpful to know and understand the basic architecture of the web and how our websites operate. Here are a handful of resources to help you learn.

About the Web

We make websites, but before you understand how individual sites work, you should learn how the web as a whole is constructed.Here is a great overview from How Stuff Works:

And a set of resources from Mozilla (The non-profit behind Firefox):

Web Development

Every site we build has a "codebase" – a set of computer files which combine to produce the functionality and appearance of the website we are making. Web development is the process of writing and organizing those files.Here is a nice short review of key terminology in development:

Here is a basic guide to the core concepts of web development:

Here is a great guide to the basic HTML tags:

If you want to learn more hands-on web development, we fully support that. Great free materials can be found at:

This is a great free course by our clients, Flatiron School, focusing on one of the web’s core programming languages, Javascript:

Web Design

Before we write any code, we need to plan the design of the website we wish to build. Just like how architects specify the design of the building before it is built, our designers use software like Sketch and Photoshop to create mockups of websites so that our engineers can build it accordingly. There are two major sides of web design:

  • User Experience (UX): Deciding what should be on the website, where it should go, and how it should be arranged
  • Visual Design: Deciding how that content and functionality should look

Here is a great microsite outlining the basic principles of UX:

Here is a rundown of some basic Web Design principals:

Here is a terse, but insightful piece by Awwwards:

Further Reading

Rebecca has put together a super-handy collection of industry lingo and terminology in our