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There was a time when life for the custom web developer was simpler. Internet Explorer was the only web browser that mattered, the others all had less than significant market share. PCs reigned supreme as well, Mac was rarely considered for compatibility. Most things could be accomplished by a single web developer with a moderate skillset. At worst, we'd have to bring in a graphic designer just to pretty things up a bit, but for the most part, the web developer could take care of everything else.

Today, things are much different. Internet Explorer is no longer the only web browser that matters, there are at least 3 others with very significant market share (Firefox, Chrome, Safari). And in fact, Internet Explorer has gone from king of the heap to bane of existence for most. It is the least consistent browser among the whole lot. So even if you are only developing for IE, you still need to develop for IE7, IE8, IE9 and IE10 because all behave differently when rendering the same page of HTML code.

But, just as important as compatibility among all the web browsers of today is the need to be compatible across the landscape of mobile devices. There's iPhone, iPad, Android, various tablets, Kindle Fire, Blackberry, and so forth. Not to mention, each platform has its own different version inconsistencies and screen resolution non-conformity and lack of support for Flash and other plugins. Web applications are also hosted in the Cloud now, all of which make for some incredible challenges for today's web developer.

So how does a web developer keep up with all of these things and still deliver a solid product that works universally and is scalable and efficient? Well, if you ask me, this is too much to ask of one developer. For an average size web application with 25 screens and typical cross platform requirements, you should figure on at least 1 front end developer, 1 back end developer, 1 web designer, 1 tester, 1 project manager, 1 SEO expert, and 1 account rep. Not to mention, you need a lab with PC's from Windows XP through Windows 8 with different combinations of web browsers installed, a Mac with OSX installed, an iPhone, Android, and a few tablets of varying sizes and OS versions. Oh, you want a mobile app, you'll need an Objective C developer and a Java developer to build Apple and Android apps too!

Well that certainly is a lot, but the more the landscape of hardware and software keeps fragmenting, the more people and testing hardware will be needed to make sure it all works. The days of simple web development are over. Today's world is complicated, incompatible, and challenging. The average, general purpose web developers of yesterday are getting left behind for more specialized, more senior developers who are part of a large team. If you're in the market for a web development team, make sure you do your research and find out exactly how big the team is and what capabilities they have before getting started.


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Categories : ASP.Net | Web Development