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Web development is the creation of software that makes your website work - makes it actually DO something rather than just sit there and look pretty. Without that software all web sites would be full of simple, static pages. They'd be the same each time you looked at them and once opened they wouldn't change and you couldn't interact with them - no forms, no menus, no slide shows, no videos. Facebook and Twitter would be impossible, as would Amazon, Ebay and Google.
Viewing a website involves two computers, the server - out there on the web, and the client - your computer. Websites can run software on both of them.
Because it runs on the web server, server side software is relatively secure and can handle sensitive information like passwords and prices and reveal them only to authorised users. It can be trusted to handle resource bookings without giving away who else has booked you and when. Server side software can handle databases of millions, even billions of records so it can run on-line banking sites, search engines and 'e-government' - much of the UK tax system is now on-line and run by server side software.
Server side software is written in a number of programming languages including PHP, ASP, Java, C# ('see-sharp') and C/C++. We use the PHP language and MySQL databases to write most of our software.