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What The Heck Is That? - All The Jargons
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Perl (also: PerlScript)
Perl is a programming language that excels at manipulation of
text. As such, it is ideal for the development of dynamic web pages. This isn’t to say that
web development is the
only application of Perl - it is heavily used in automation
of administrative tasks on Unix-based systems, for example.
Perl programs, or “scripts” as they are commonly
can be installed either as CGI programs or as server-side scripts
using the mod_perl plug-in for Apache Web server, in which
case they are sometimes said to be written in “PerlScript”.
Personal Home Page (PHP)
is a somewhat less flexible language than Perl, but is more
specialized towards the creation of dynamic web pages. This focus
means that you can do pretty much anything you can do with Perl
Designed for use as a server-side scripting language (whereas
Perl was not originally designed for use on the Web), this
language bears similarities to other common languages (Perl,
Active Server Pages (ASP)
Active Server Pages (ASP) is a framework for running scripting
languages. Developed by Microsoft, this is mainly supported by
Windows Web server. As a solution for creating
dynamic Web sites, ASP basically fills the same role as PHP, but
with some degree of freedom in your choice of programming
language. The trade-off is a loss of freedom in your choice of Web
A Web server with its own built-in server-side scripting
language in one product, Cold Fusion is designed to be easy for
inexperienced users to set up and learn. Unlike some of the solutions that are free, Cold Fusion is a
commercial product. It does come with a helpful authoring
environment, but with PHP, ASP, and others becoming more and more
easy to learn and use, Cold Fusion is losing popularity.
Server-Side Java (Servlets, JavaServer Pages, etc.)
We already mentioned Java in the client-side portion of this
article as a language for creating “Applets” - small
programs that run in web pages using a “Java Virtual Machine” embedded in the Web browser. Java, as a full-blown
programming language, can run just about anywhere - including on the Web server computer.
If you’re an experienced programmer,
server-side Java is an extremely powerful tool to add to your
repertoire. Otherwise, you’ll probably want to steer clear in favor
of a simpler solution like PHP or ASP.
A database is, in basic terms, a repository of information.
Databases are not good at displaying information in an attractive
format (such as a web page), but they’re really good at keeping
track of large quantities of related information.
A database server is a program that lets another program
retrieve information stored in a database. Just like Apache is Web
server that serves web pages, programs such as
MySQL and Oracle are database servers that serve databases.
A database-driven web site is a web site where all of the
actual information is stored in a database, and the web pages are produced by server-side scripts that connect to a
database server to fetch that information and plug it into
the attractive web page design. Such sites can provide access to vast quantities of
information with surprisingly little maintenance overhead, because
if you make a change to the information stored in the database,
all the web pages on your site that display that information are
automatically updated as a result.
A free database server, this program runs on a computer to
provide access to and manage one or more databases. Just as
browsers use HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol) to request and
download web pages, programmers can use SQL (Structured Query
Language) to communicate with a MySQL server and request
information stored in a database.
Which is Better?
So which is better, client-side or
While this is a natural question to ask, the fact
of the matter is that neither is better than the other. Instead,
they each have advantages and disadvantages, and it’s up to you
to determine which is the best choice for any given application.
be very “nimble” in terms of their ability to affect what is
displayed on the user’s screen. These technologies, running
right inside the Web browser itself, have direct access to things
like browser windows and web page elements, and can modify these
in response to user actions such as mouse movements and clicks.
The weakness that all client-side technologies share is their
reliance on browser support, which rarely turns out to be the same
on different browsers.
This limitation is completely surmounted by server-side
technologies, which run entirely on the Web server, and thus only
need to work properly on that one computer to produce identical
results on every Web browser in the world. Server-side
cannot do anything to modify a page once it has been sent to the
Web browser for display.
Server-side technologies also tend to be more complicated to set
up, as they require you to make modifications to your Web server’s configuration.
For these reasons, most modern web pages are created
using a combination of client- and server-side technologies.
Server-side is used wherever reliability, cross-browser
compatibility, and direct access to resources like databases
are required. When a server-side technology isn’t “nimble”
enough to produce the desired results, a little client-side
technology can often be added to the mix to provide the
right balance of power and responsiveness to user input.
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