Most Common Mistakes Web Developers Make

Since the term the World Wide Web was coined back in 1990, web application development has evolved from serving static HTML pages to completely dynamic, complex business applications.

Today we've thousands of digital and printed resources that provide stepwise directions relating to developing every type of various web applications. Development environments are “smart” enough to catch and fix several mistakes that early developers battled with regularly. There are even many different development platforms that simply turn easy static HTML pages into extremely interactive applications.

All of those development patterns, practices, and platforms share common ground, and they are all liable to similar web development problems caused by the very nature of web applications.

The purpose of these web development tips is to shed light on some of the common mistakes made in several stages of the web development process and to assist you become a better developer. There are some general topics that common to virtually all web developers like validation, security, scalability, and SEO. They’re listed below to give you an idea of the problems you might encounter.

Not developing for different screen sizes

Responsive design has been a big topic in the past few years. Expansion of smartphones with different screen resolutions has brought several new ways of accessing online content, which also comes with a host of web development problems. The number of website visits that come from smartphones and tablets grows every day, and this trend is accelerating.

In order to ensure seamless navigation and access to website content, you must enable users to access it from all types of devices.

There are numerous patterns and practices for building responsive web applications. Each development platform has its own tips and tricks, but there are some frameworks that are platform independent. The most popular is probably Twitter Bootstrap. It is an open-source and free HTML, CSS, and JavaScript framework that has been adopted by every major development platform. Just adhere to Bootstrap patterns and practices when building your application, and you'll get responsive web application with no trouble at all.

Cross browser incompatibility

The development process is, in most cases, under a heavy time pressure. Each application must be released as soon as possible and even good web developers are usually focused on delivering functionality over design. Despite the fact that most developers have Chrome, Firefox, i.e. installed, they're using only one of these 90th of the time. It’s common practice to use one browser throughout development and even as the application nears completion will you begin testing it in different browsers. This can be perfectly reasonable–assuming that you’ve lots of your time to test and fix problems that show up at this stage.

However, there are some web development tips that may prevent significant time when your application reaches the cross-browser testing phase:

  • You don’t need to test in all browsers throughout development; it's time consuming and ineffective. However, that doesn't mean that you simply cannot switch browsers frequently. Use a different browser each couple of days, and you'll at least recognize major problems early in development phase.
  • Be careful of using statistics to justify not supporting a browser. There are several organizations that are slow in adopting new software or upgrading. Thousands of users working there might still need access to your application, and they cannot install the latest free browser due to internal security and business policies.
  • Avoid browser specific code. In most cases there is an elegant solution that is cross-browser compatible.

Not planning for portability

Assumption is the mother of all problems! When it comes to portability, this saying is truer than ever. How many times have you seen problems in web development like hard coded file paths, database connection strings, or assumptions that a particular library will be available on the server? Assuming that the production environment can match your local development computer is just wrong.

Ideal application setup should be maintenance-free:
  • Make sure that your application will scale and run on a load-balanced multiple server environment.
  • Allow simple and clear configuration–possibly in a single configuration file.
  • Handle exceptions when web server configuration is not as expected.


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