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File Handling: The Best File Formats for Web Development

File Handling: The Best File Formats for Web Development
A developer coding on a laptop.

We’ve all spent too much time trying to find the files we’ve mislabeled, misplaced, or prematurely deleted. As a web developer, you must handle your files correctly to avoid unnecessary loss. Properly handling files refers to storing available data or info in a file and using the correct format that would suit your website's state. The challenges associated with mishandling your files can be daunting, so let’s jump in together.

Structuring and Organizing your Website’s Files

Handling your files requires careful organization to be successful. Creating a well-organized system for your website's files will save time. In addition, making the structure easily viewable will make it simpler for others to work on your site.

File Structures

When it comes to your website's structure, make sure your file structure is easy to navigate and understand. This means using clear and concise folder names that describe the content within them.

Secondly, you want to keep your files well organized so that you can locate them when you need them. This means creating subfolders and grouping similar files together.

Finally, make sure that your file sizes are compressed so that they load quickly and don't occupy too much space on your server.

You can use two main types of folder structures: The hierarchical folder is the most common type of folder structure and is used by most operating systems, including Windows, macOS, and Linux/Unix. You can easily create folders within one folder; for example, folder 2 is inside folder 1, folder 3 is inside folder 2, etc. On the other hand, in the flat folder structure, all of the files are stored in one level, without a hierarchy.

Your website's file structure is important for two reasons: first, it can help improve your site's performance, and second, it can make it easier for you to find files when you need them.

Types of Directories

A root directory. is the main folder where you will store all of your website's files. Within your root directory, you should create a few key folders:

  • Store your website's HTML files in an "HTML folder."
  • Put your website's CSS files in a "CSS folder."
  • Store your website’s JavaScript files in a “Javascript folder.”

You can also Nest folders (create multi-level folders) to making your structure a little simpler.

Keeping all of your website's files in one main directory can be helpful if you have a small website with only a few pages.

Another way to organize your website's files is to create separate directories for each section or page of your site. This can be useful if you have a larger website with many different pages and sections.

Primarily, be consistent with how you organize your website's files so that it’ll be easier to find and use the files when you need to make changes to your website.

Tips for Implementation

  • Use a consistent naming convention for all of your files. Using short, memorable file names, e.g. HTML>folder, will make it simple to find and manage files.
  • Create folders for different types of files. For example, create a folder for images, one for videos, and one for PDFs or DOCs.
  • Keep track of where each file is located. An excellent way to do this is to create a master list of all of the files on your site and update it whenever you add or remove anything.
  • Periodically review your file structure and make sure it’s still effective. As your site grows, you might need to adjust how you organize things.

Choosing the Best File Format

When choosing the best file formats, it’s important to consider flexibility, quality of resolution, and the ability for image, video, and audio files to be compressed while retaining quality. The best file format for a given document is the one that offers the most benefits. There are different types of file formats, but not all of them are good for specific purposes.

Image Formats

  • Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) is an XML-based vector image format popular in web design because of its scalability across different devices and platforms. It takes a little time to get used to, but SVG files have many benefits over other types of image formats, including that they can be created and edited with any text editor.
  • The Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG) created the JPEG standard, which was published in 1992. The JPEG standard was intended as a successor to the GIF and TIFF standards. Still, it became more popular than its predecessors because of its comprehensive support and better compression rates. JPEG is best used for photos because it can accurately handle large color spaces while maintaining a relatively small file size.
  • The Portable Network Graphics (PNG) file format is a bitmap image format that supports 24-bit images and 8-bit transparency. It was created as an improved, non-patented replacement for the GIF, which lacked support for authentic color images. The PNG format was designed in 1995 by a team at the company Silicon Graphics. The team wanted to create a graphics file format that would not lose any image data during compression.
  • The Web Picture Format (WebP) is a new image format that provides better compression than JPEG or PNG. It is supported by Chrome, Opera, and Android but not by Firefox or Internet Explorer. Google developed it in 2010 to provide lossless and lossy compression for images on the web. It was designed to be an alternative to JPEG and PNG images with similar quality, but much smaller file sizes.
  • The Graphics Interchange Format (GIF) is a file format for storing images and animation. GIFs are usually animated; you can also use them to provide text or other graphics with an animation effect. They are created using graphic design software like Adobe Photoshop, but they can also be made using an app on a computer or mobile device.

Video Formats

Here is a list of the best video files:

  • WebM is a video format that is open-source and royalty-free. It was developed in 2010 by Google as an alternative to H.264/MPEG-4 AVC, which runs with HTML5. The codec of this format doesn't require much to compress and unzip files. WebM is used on YouTube and Facebook. Some devices support WebM natively, while others need third-party software to play WebM videos.
  • Audio Video Interleave (AVI) is the most commonly used video format on Windows computers. You can create AVI files using the built-in video recording feature of some versions of Microsoft Windows or a third-party video-capturing device, such as a webcam. It is a container file format that can contain both audio and video data, and it can also include other types of data, such as subtitles.
  • Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) MP4 is a video format that stores and distributes digital video. It’s a container format containing multiple videos, audio, or tracks. It is a standard file format for storing video on DVDs.
    The MP4 file extension is also used for other media, such as MP3 audio and MPEG transport streams.
  • Advanced Video Coding High Definition (AVCHD) is a file format for recording high-definition video without converting or transcoding it. It also supports uncompressed audio formats such as Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio.
  • The QuickTime File Format is an Apple-created container format that supports video, audio, text, graphics, and other data formats. When choosing a video format, select the one that meets your application requirements—endeavor to select the formats most browsers accept and choose a video format with the right quality.

Audio Formats

Here's a list of the best Audio File Formats:

  • An MP3 file is an audio file encoded at a constant bit rate or variable bit rate, which is compressed with the use of a psychoacoustic model. They are more popular than WAV and AIFF formats because of their size. The files have different applications, including music, speech, and audiobooks. You can play MP3s on any device that has an MP3 player installed in it.
  • Advanced audio coding (AAC) is a complex process that requires a lot of time and effort, but the benefits are worth it. The process begins with recording an analogue signal that is then converted to a digital signal. This digital signal is later encoded into an MP3 file or any other audio format of your choice.
  • OGG is an accessible, lossy open-source audio file format for general-purpose audio. It is designed to be efficient in terms of storage space and data transmission rates. OGG was adopted by several companies, including Apple and the BBC, as the preferred format for streaming and playback of their content.
  • Waveform (WAV) audio files are a type of audio file that represents sound as an oscillating waveform. This file is often used in audio files for music production and was initially developed by the Yamaha Corporation. They are also compatible with popular music software programs, such as Pro Tools and Logic Pro.

The best audio format for sound quality is a format that has the highest bitrate and sample rate, which produce better-quality audio. The best audio formats for sound quality are .wav, .mp3, AIFF, and .flac, while the best audio files for the web include MP4 and MP3 file formats.

Some File Uploading Tips for Web Developers

  • If possible, use the PNG file format when uploading images because it's a lossless format.
  • Ensure that your file type is set to "All Files" when uploading from your computer, as this will allow the browser to determine what file type it should use when displaying your uploaded file.
  • If your uploaded image has an alpha channel, use the 'save for web' option in Photoshop so that there are no unnecessary pixels in the image.
  • When saving video or audio files, ensure they're saved as MP4 or MP3, respectively.
  • When uploading an audio file in WAV format, specify that it's an uncompressed audio file.
  • Knowing about file metadata is helpful for validation and helps you make informed decisions.
  • Learn how to use the file accept attribute to limit the type of files to upload.
  • Manage your file content using the FileReader object to convert the file to a binary string. After that, add a load event listener to finally get the binary strings to upload.
  • Use metadata to read and validate file size.
  • Give users a seamless file upload experience by adding a progress bar. You can use HTML5's progress tag to create a progress bar: the FileReader has an event called progress that is used to analyze how much has been loaded.


If you want your web application to run smoothly, it is essential to keep its files structured, organized, and saved in the correct folder with a descriptive name. When you prioritize handling your files correctly, you avoid development hiccups and improve your general productivity.

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