While the first computer programs were made with soldering iron, the computer age saw the birth of multiple languages, for multiple uses (management software, business software, in all possible fields of activity or almost), until the appearance of the Internet and websites.
Web application or software, web development or software development, are these distinctions still significant today, in a world where everything is becoming more complex and where the ever-increasing search for productivity is reducing custom development to bring developers together?
In this article, we will try to better understand the specificities of the development professions, with web developers on the one hand, and software developers on the other.
Web development or software development?
A priori, the difference is simple: web development is done on web technologies, whereas software development consists in building computer applications, using different languages, programming tools and development platforms to design new software, correct and improve existing software.
But development jobs are no longer yesterday’s jobs. Few developers still design algorithms to turn them into a programming language.
Thus, development today covers very different realities, such as, for example :
web developers who build complex custom applications using MVCS frameworks and highly productive development platforms,
web developers who create sites by installing and setting up CMS and working on CSS,
Developers who design software architectures from APIs, libraries, existing software, languages, frameworks, design patterns,
Developers who compose applications by selecting and assembling different SaaS components,
Programmer analysts who accompany their clients from the expression of their needs to the maintenance of their applications.
Different skills, but similar processes
While there are many schools and training courses for developers, there is also a wide range of skills in which these trades can specialise.
On the computer development side, the computer development languages are more numerous, and we can mention Fortran, COBOL, C, C++, C#, Java but also Ruby, Objective-C, Perl or Python for example. Over time, new languages have been created, for more flexibility and for very different uses. It is therefore very difficult to know the majority of these languages, so it will be necessary for the computer developer to specialize in one or more of these codes and to use his know-how for a particular type of application or use.
Thus, web developers and software developers will from the outset be opposed by specific knowledge and skills, which may be extremely different.
However, where the two professions meet is in the methodologies used.
Because a development, whether it is a website or software, is above all a project: it must meet needs, follow a schedule, respect a budget and constraints. It must also include different production phases, tests, acceptance and delivery.
Finally, when the software or website in question is in operation, the developer, whatever his profile, must carry out corrective maintenance (resolution of anomalies) and evolutionary maintenance (evolution of needs).
All these steps thus form a common framework of actions and a common philosophy, allowing both professions to better understand their respective requirements and methodologies.