I’ve been a proud web developer since the mid 90′s and it sure has changed a lot since then.

However, as Jeremy’s post indicates; many in the software industry don’t give enough respect to the web “engineers”. Rightly said:

PHP and AJAX aren’t exactly the same as C++ or Java (duh), but that doesn’t mean they’re less demanding

Exactly. Now, I’ve done my share of C and C++ development and agree it’s a different level than the higher level languages such as Java (yes, Java), PHP, Perl, Python, C#, JavaScript, … the list goes on. Does this mean one technology is harder than another, one skill is more difficult than the other or one problem is more valuable or difficult than the other?

No.

I’ve been in my fair share of development projects (albeit mostly web applications) and I can say there is definitely great challenges at both ends of the spectrum. Pros, cons and challenges to developing a compiled and packaged app built in C++ vs a web application build in Ruby, MySQL, JavaScript and CSS.

That last line sums up what the typical web developer’s toolset is like. Throw in unknowns and stability issues that go along with the web; browser/platform standards for the front-end folks, infrastructure scalability for the back-end folks and a pile of other challenges in between. It’s not a cake-wak.

No, web developing is not all HTML and animated gif’s anymore, it’s not just an art but also a skill and a career that is just as demanding as that of a “software developer”.

Now, I don’t intend to come across as saying web developers should get more respect than their counterparts but there ought to be more balance.

In closing this post; I believe we’re heading in the right direction here. As we see more and more emphasis put on the web and the applications being built on the web these days (Google Maps, GMail, YUI Library, Flickr, Amazon[how can one forget them], JotSpot …), we’re seeing that to build and maintain these applications effectively takes great skill, planning and… yes, engineering.

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