Just a statment about what web development is You get one string in, looks something like this:
Originally Posted by Dr Livingston
And then you return a string, which looks something like this:
GET /search?q=php HTTP/1.1
User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-GB; rv:1.7.6) Gecko/20050226 Firefox/1.0.1
Fundamentally, that is all you are doing. Different parts of the string are handled by different programs (Apache handles the "GET /search?q=php HTTP/1.1" part for example) but utlimatley that is what you are doing. PHP parses some of the input string into arrays to make life easier for you, but you are still playing the "build a string" game.
HTTP/1.x 200 OK
Date: Fri, 15 Apr 2005 20:11:38 GMT
I have to admit I didn't fully grap this until I started learning to use Ruby without Rails. Ruby is much more general than PHP, it isn't focused on web development. PHP is becomming more useful for non-web things, just as Ruby and Python are becomming more useful for web things. (With Ruby, this is mostly due to Rails.)
Beyond that, the challange is to build that output string as "fast" as possible. (I've overloaded "fast" a little there. I mean fast rendering of the HTML, fast development time, fast maintenance, everything.)
WRT server-side development... I don't consider myself a server-side developer, more someone who builds web interfaces. In my case, that usually involves some web design and user interface design too, though nothing I would consider "heavy" server side development, like writing database servers or web servers or anything like that.