How To Cook Up A Website

Last Update: October 16, 2021

Recently I was innocently asked by a friend, who's a plumber by day and a drummer at weekends, what on earth the word rendering has to do with websites.

He understands rendering a wall (in his words, covering the wall with plaster or something) and rendering a piece of music (playing it).

Rather than glibly explaining what I thought (simply displaying a website on a screen), I did a little research first in case...

I'm glad I checked.

It turns out that on the internet the word, rendering, refers to the whole process with many steps and variables. The end result of the rendering of a website is its display on a screen.

Its route from source to the screen seems precarious!

Google's Martin Splitt explains that rendering is a bit like cooking. It's the process of taking in ingredients, mixing them together and cooking based on a logical recipe that depends on the ingredients, then delivering the result to a hungry diner. That's my long sentence, not his.

If I'm cooking, the outcome can be precarious too!

However, reading elsewhere, I think Martin's description is a little understated. But the more I read the more I realised just why he'd rendered (ho-ho) a very cut down version of the story.

The focus of rendering, is on the speed and accuracy of process and delivery, as opposed to the quality of the resultant content. It is immensely complex.

Also, most ingredients online are constructed from a set of building blocks. They are not bought fresh for use in the recipe.

Rendering on the internet tries to execute a perfect recipe every time based on the ingredients.

As with a meal, If the ingredients are sub-par then the process will do what it can to deliver but the result will be sub-par (I know... that sounds like an excuse I might make).

So what are the ingredients of a website?

The ingredients are constructed from the code (typically a combination of HTML, Javascript and CSS), images of 3 or 4 main varieties, videos of various varieties and text. Not to mention many different fonts, sizes and many thousands of different colours. I guess you know that.

... and what is the rendering process?

I was going to go into detail... but this is where I understood Martin Splitt's approach to using the metaphor of the cooking process...

Think about this for a minute...

Anyone on any smartphone, tablet or computer in the world can order up a website on their screen at any moment. That starts the rendering process...

Each website can be constructed from different mixes of ingredients, and the materials and mixtures can be held more or less anywhere in the world and therefore can be rendered from many different locations. Oh dear, now I'm in part using the cooking analogy!

In addition, images and text and screen layouts can be rendered from different locations (ironically for the sake of speedy rendering!) and there are many different protocols for wired and wireless connections.

The mind boggles...

So next time you set up a new framework for a new website in a few seconds be amazed...

Next time you order up a site that gets to you in a few seconds, celebrate... it really is quite surprising.

I've been working with computers since 1976. I've seen the evolution and understood most of it while it was happening (I've forgotten a lot by now too).

But it still never ceases to amaze me!

Any mind-boggling thoughts to add? Please comment...
:-)
Richard

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SamiWilliams Premium
Learning to communicate in our online world is helpful.

For me, learning has been in layers. Even when wasting time on a sales pitch for some scheme for quick money, I learned new terminology.

Understanding how to apply the different terms. I agree that we can't stop learning. Thanks, Sami
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RCanty Premium Plus
Great post! I found myself wanting to do a little cooking. But that’s a pipe dream backseat with my luck I’d burn everything done except to kitchen.

I too have been around computers since the dawn of time. I remember when building a website took 20 men and a baby to create.

It is amazing how times have changed.

Canty
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richardgb Premium
Yes ... back then we would never have thought of it as being the dawn of time... it was advanced technology!
Unbelievable now!
:-)
Richard
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Suzay Premium Plus
Wow, quite an interesting history and recipe as well. Websites are made with building blocks that made it easier to understand, and that thanks to many people pouring into the field applications, usage, and stability have improved over time.

I am really grateful for the WA community and for teacher Jay, and my own consistency of going to his classes, and then looking up on the web what Jay taught us, and being blown away by what I'd see from class! WA has the recipe for success! Pass the Siracha!

Thank you, Richard, for the longest time I just could not understand the vocabulary of any of this. It was like I hit a wall, but I'm getting it, not resisting it, welcoming it, yes.
Suzay
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richardgb Premium
Understand. It's like a swamp of jargon sometimes!
:-)
Richard
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EdwinBernard Premium Plus
Hi Richard,

Thanks for the excellent explanation on the topic of rendering.

When I hear this word, video creation comes to mind. When a video is created, it also goes through the process of rendering. Similar things happen. Faster computers take less time to render a video compared to slow computers.

The more skilled we become, the less time it will take us to render our website.

Cheers.

Edwin
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richardgb Premium
Thanks for commenting, Edwin.

But having made this point, although many man-made technologies are mind-boggling, they're nothing compared to the complexities of a human brain and body.

There are approximately 8 billion of us, each processing an estimated 11 million bits of information per second just through our skin.

The internet is primitive in comparison!
:-)
Richard
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Jessiefido Premium Plus
An interesting read as always Richard.

It just amazes me how far technology has come in such a short space of time, and I don't see it slowing down anytime soon.

If we miss a beat or two then there is a lot of catching up to do!

Enjoy your day my friend!:-)
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richardgb Premium
Thank you for your interest in the post, Nick and for commenting.
We are fortunate that we mostly only need to concern ourselves with the site itself and content.
:-)
Richard
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Jessiefido Premium Plus
As the saying goes "content is key", but I find it very interesting to learn from those, who have had experience with computers since, well, before I was born!

Anything I can learn on a daily basis is a bonus for me Richard!

I thank you for always sharing your thoughts and experiences with us my friend!:-)
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richardgb Premium
Thank you for your kind words, Nick!
Appreciated.
:-)
Richard
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Jessiefido Premium Plus
Always a pleasure Richard!:-)
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