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Create a unified, enjoyable experience across CERN websites for our users
First steps
Focus on quality
Think about the future
Keep track

Get Started

Web development in a nutshell


This section concerns people with no web development experience


If you don’t know those acronyms it is better to start from the beginning. Are you in hurry to create a website for your department/group/section or project but you don’t know anything about Hypertext Markup Language, Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) or JavaScript? We strongly advise you to get help from someone who is an experienced web developer.

But, what if I want to start now?

It’s very exciting at the beginning and it is possible that you feel you can already build websites. Just to make sure that you won’t struggle in the future, please read this tutorial.


Discover the subject…



...and practise, practise, practise. We wouldn’t recommend anyone without experience building a public website for a first try without consulting with an experienced web developer. Basic web standards:, best practices: .



Remember the users



Think about them first. What do they need? What are the minimum (working) functionalities that you can start with to make your future audience happy? Remember - you are doing the website for the users not for yourself. Try to keep it simple.



Focus on the security



Because security is not optional. CERN as a international organisation is a target of cyber attacks, including its websites and you, as a web developer, are responsible for keeping it secure.



Quality is important



Both in design and functionality. Your website is like a business card - you want it to look professional. That’s why you should keep your website clean and flawless. No broken styles, no broken links, no bugs, no dead ends, no struggles for the user. Responsiveness and good performance are the minimum you should provide. You can check your website using tools provided by Google, e.g.



Think about the future



Once you’ve built your website you need to maintain it. It might be you doing the maintenance, or it might be your colleague - be gentle on both of you. Create documentation for your code, and website - a knowledge base which you can easily handover. It will also be used by you - believe us, you won’t remember why you wrote your code like that in 3 months time.



Be a world-class developer



Write maintainable code, don’t repeat yourself, reuse already existing libraries and solutions. It’s almost definite that someone else in the world already had the exact same problem - use their experience. The most known developer forum is created to help you: - don’t be afraid to ask questions, but search first, maybe the answer is there already



Don’t get lost



Keep track of your code. Git, a developers best-friend, can help with that:, also read more about good practice: At CERN we use Gitlab to help our developers:



So, what do I need to do?


  1. Think about the main purpose of your website
  2. Choose a technology (link)
  3. Create a structure for your website
  4. Create a test website
  5. Start building the test website using your chosen technology
  6. Revise it if the assumptions you’ve made in the design phase don’t check out in the reality
  7. Consult with your users
  8. Test the website
  9. Fix all the issues you might find
  10. Release the website - “production”
  11. Leave your testing website running, for future testing
  12. Maintain the production website


Get started with Drupal


If you would like to get started with Drupal websites, you can start by reading the Drupal guide for Drupal websites at CERN and how to create a Drupal website. Otherwise, you can always refer to the web services website in order to get started with other frameworks.