Hi Everyone

I am a complete novice when it comes to the world of web development, and I have some questions about the process, and what web developers do (and why). My motivation is this; I am a student in business school, and have a project to market a web-based tool, and just need a better understanding on how this all works. Here are my questions:

How do you find out about the latest & greatest in web development? What sites, publications, conferences, etc. do you patronize?

How do you select your shopping carts, gateways, merchant accounts, etc.? Which ones are best and why? Is a one-stop shop for these services attractive? Why or why not?

Do you receive referral fees from any of these e-commerce suite of tools? If so, how is that structured? What is the maximum you could generate from such referral business?

Are your core clients small business owners? How do THEY find YOU?

Where would you go to find other web developers?

Thanks in advance for your help!