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What The Heck Is That? - All The Jargons
You've learned how to use FrontPage. You've also
learned basic HTML to take more control over page design. And
PhotoShop to make up a cool logo. Your first web site is up and
What comes next, though? As soon as any fledgling Web author
sets her sites beyond the limitations of modern HTML, she is faced
with a daunting barrage of acronyms (CSS, ASP, PHP, and XML, just to
name a few) and advanced technologies (such as Dynamic HTML,
sense of it all?
In this article, Iíll try to do just that. Iíll begin by drawing a line between the two main categories of
advanced Web technologies: client-side and server-side
technologies. Iíll talk about the differences, the
advantages and disadvantages of each. Then Iíll take a stroll
through the client-side technologies, providing a plain
description of what each of them does. Finally, Iíll do very much the same
thing for each of the server-side technologies.
By the end of this article, you should have a better idea of
how it all fits together.
This is also crucial for non-techie people like
business owners. Understanding the basic concepts of Web
development technologies makes you equipped to
decide what to use based on what any given
technology can do for you. You can outsource the development work,
but you have to make decisions according to your business needs.
Clients And Servers
As mentioned above, advanced Web design technologies
divided into two broad categories: server-side and client-side.
Understanding the difference between the two requires a basic
understanding of what goes on when someone views a web page on the
Youíve done it hundreds, if not thousands of times before.
Youíve followed a link or typed a URL into your browserís
address field and it has loaded and displayed the corresponding
web page in seconds. Looks pretty straightforward. But whatís really going on behind the scenes?
There are two computers involved in this
process: your computer, where you browser is running, and the
computer somewhere on the Internet that serves up the web page in
question. In this arrangement, your computer is known as the client
and the computer providing the web page is known as the server.
The server is responsible for
fulfilling the requests of many clients.
The browser, running in your computer (client) sends a request
for a URL over the Internet to another software program
running on the server computer. This program, known as a Web
server, responds to that request by sending back the web
page corresponding to the URL. It is then up to the browser to
interpret that web page, converting it into human-readable format
and displaying on the client computerís screen.
The retrieval and display of any web page on the Internet
proceeds along the same general lines. However, itís not always quite as simple. Most advances in
design lately have come with the cost of additional steps in the
above process. Whether the additional steps come before or after
the server delivers the page to the client is the difference between
client- and server-side technologies.
The Web server
software running on the server computer may have additional
software that let it do more than just serve up simple HTML pages. These
additional software are known as server-side technologies.
On the other hand, some web
pages are more complex for the browser to display than simply
taking the HTML and displaying on the screen.
Sometimes additional tasks must be completed by the Web browser
for the web page to be displayed. Anything that requires the
browser to process in order to determine what to
display on the screen is a client-side technology.
Let's now take a look at the currently available client-side
technologies. Remember, the one thing all of these technologies
have in common is that they require the browser to do something
other than read pure HTML to display a Web page.
This is a programming language that Web browser
embedded in web pages. Like most simple programming languages
Web browser runs once the web page has been received from the
elements responsive to user actions (e.g. changing an image when
the user moves the cursor over it) and conditions on the
this reason, you may not want to use features that only work on
Internet Explorer or Netscape (but not both).
two different programming languages.
The reason for their similar names is generally attributed to the
fact that they are both used in advanced Web design. In fact, the
languages actually do look quite similar. If youíve
ever written computer programs in C, C++, or Java, you wonít
Remember the popup window inviting you to sign up
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IE browsers support another client-side
have some special reason to use VBScript.
Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)
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publication or web site.
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The only requirement is to include this resource box:
Article by Zac Hewlett at
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