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Web Site Design & Development Terms And Jargons

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1st Singapore Web Hosting > Web Site Design

What The Heck Is That? - All The Jargons Explained

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 running.

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, JavaScript, Cold Fusion, MySQL). How is one expected to make 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 are 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 Internet.

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 web 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.

Client-side Technologies

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 understands. JavaScript is a relatively simple programming language that may be embedded in web pages. Like most simple programming languages designed to run inside another program, JavaScript is known as a ďscripting languageĒ.

An HTML page can contain JavaScript code, which the Web browser runs once the web page has been received from the server. JavaScript lets Webmasters do things like make page elements responsive to user actions (e.g. changing an image when the user moves the cursor over it) and conditions on the user's computer.

JavaScript can do a lot of fun things, but for security and privacy reasons it is limited in many ways. Compatibility is also an issue, as the JavaScript support in some browsers is not the same as the JavaScript support in others. For this reason, you may not want to use features that only work on Internet Explorer or Netscape (but not both).

JavaScript is often confused with Java while they are actually 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 find JavaScript hard to learn at all.

Remember the popup window inviting you to sign up for our free newsletter? It's driven by a small JavaScript.


IE browsers support another client-side scripting language similar in scope and purpose to JavaScript called VBScript. Since VBScript can do little that JavaScript cannot, it is usually best to stick with JavaScript unless you have some special reason to use VBScript.

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)

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Article by Zac Hewlett at 1stSingaporeWebHosting
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