Web development provides Pinoys a crack at the world market

Candy G. Villanueva

FROM the concrete jungles of Makati to the bamboo huts of Boracay in Visayas, almost everything is available to anyone anywhere at the click of the button. Anyone with computer and Internet access that is.

In the mood for shopping in the middle of the night? Hundreds of online shopping sites can satisfy your craving to spend. Missed the last NBA championship game? Log on to get a blow-by-blow account of the game, including scores and statistics.

Think of any topic under the sun and the World Wide Web is more than likely to have it.

Riding the crest

Internet surfing has become a way of life and riding the waves of this information super highway are the web developers of the country. Web developers are designers and creators of web sites or electronic pages that supply information, entertainment and education.

One of these people riding the crest of the Internet is David Cuenco, who heads a team of web developers at EyeDream Wireless Design Studio. This company is responsible for sites like www.Mod.net.ph, www.sure-express.com <http://www.sure-express.com> and www.pelikula.net <http://www.pelikula. net>.

Combining art and technology, Cuenco and his team create visual electronic pages known as web pages. A web site is composed of a web page or several linked web pages. A basic web page is a page coded in HTML (hypertext markup language), an online document accessible by any browser. Web pages may be illuminated with color, graphics, sound and moving pictures.

Multi-dimensional job

Web developers usually handle overall site design and structure, coding for back-end operations and database administration and site security. Web developing can be a continuous job. Once the site is done, the developer doesn't always get to hang up his hat and call it a day. Most sites update and change looks and content to keep surfers interested. In most cases, it is also the developer's job to handle regular maintenance and administer changes and updates.

"The web designer's job is a dual-faceted position. Aside from the technical knowledge and skills needed to accomplish the job, he also needs to be familiar with marketing and business operations," says Cuenco.

Web designers are usually graduates of Computer Science or any computer related course. Nowadays, most courses offer at least one subject or a few units in web design.

Required training

Even those without formal computer education, but well versed with the development process and technical limitations of web development, have also joined the bandwagon. With the advent the World Wide Web, the web development industry has become a free-for-all venture. As Cuenco would put it, "In today's real world setting, anybody who is capable of self-instruction and determined enough can be a web designer. The Internet by itself is the ultimate resource of information."

But this does not mean that merely getting a reliable PC, a generous memory drive, unlimited Internet connection and having creativity and time are the only ingredients to becoming a successful web developer. Cuenco advises, "For those familiar with the classic Wordstar, they can do HTML. HTML in 24 hours, Visual Quickstart HTML 4.0 and HTML for Dummies will be a good take off point for those who wish to learn the basics."

Sources

Cuenco recommends some sources for learning web development. He advises, "Open-source has gained significant ground over the years, and has established itself as a stable platform for web site development. I personally recommend PhP (www.php.net <http:// www.php.net>) and MySQL (www.mysql.org<http://www. mysql.org>) if you wish to learn how to build dynamic web sites. There are several books in the market that provide learning information on this. The easiest one to digest is Visual Quickstart PhP/MySQL. If you plan to take the Microsoft way, you can learn on ASP and SQLServer. For those who wish to pursue a career in web administration, they should learn Linux or Windows 2000."

Cuenco also adds that if your budget cannot include books, you can always rely on www.google.com for tutorials.

Global market

Anyone with a legitimate business is a potential client for web developers. Even foreign companies are target markets for local developers. "Through our government's best efforts to promote the ICT sector, the Philippines has been fortunate enough to receive a lot of outsourcing projects. Striking a balance between highly skilled professionals, low labor costs, flexibility and creativity, foreign companies opt to secure our services because our country can certainly offer the best 'bang-for-the-buck' proposals," Cuenco explains.

Cuenco is confident about the capabilities of local developers. "The local web designers are getting better by the day. I'd say we're up to par with foreign companies." Given the right resources and excellent training, Cuenco believes that local web developers "are able to demonstrate to the world that we are very much capable of taking on any web-related project."

Awards

Web developers can also count on a local award giving body to recognize their efforts. Yearly, the Philippine Web Awards honors the best Filipino-created web sites. Known as the Webby Awards, the yearly event gives finalists and awardees an opportunity to generate more site audiences and new businesses. Tracing its roots from the US-based Webby Awards, the Philippine Webby Awards also gives developers a chance to be recognized by their peers and the mainstream media. This year, the 6th Webby Awards will award outstanding web creations in 18 categories.

But a Webby award or nomination is simply cherry on a sundae. As in life, a job well done is a reward in itself. "Doing a good job in the eyes of the client is a key challenge," says Cuenco. Of course, the paying clients are only a part of the audience. Once a site is up and running, the designers work their processors and their fingers off to maintain a continuous flow of "visitors" or encourage busy site "traffic." But in the end, many, like Cuenco, live for the "information high." Says Cuenco, "You can't get one too many ideas in a day."

10/11/2003

Bron : Inq7.net

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