Design Technology F.A.Q.
There are three essential web design components: Client
Side Applications, Server
Side Applications, and Databases.
CLIENT SIDE APPLICATIONS
The Client Side component of a website is data sent by the
server in unprocessed form to a web browser on a local machine,
which processes and displays the data.
HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) is a scripted language
that is primarily used for displaying text and images on
the Internet. This is the fundamental language of the Internet
around which all other applications revolve. Its disadvantage
is that it can only display web pages, but not perform more
complex functions such as calculations, validation, and
content manipulation. There are several variations of this
language, such as XML, which allow more flexibility, but
none are as widely used and supported as HTML.
DHTML or Dynamic HTML is simply HTML generated by another
application, such as a server side script in Perl or PHP,
advantage is the ability to add, change or delete HTML text
at the time the page is displayed to the web browser, allowing
content manipulation and modification each time a page is
XML (eXtensible Markup Language) is a uniform protocol which
enables sending and receiving complex data over the Internet
regardless of the technology or platform being used. Data
can be encoded into and decoded from XML protocol using
PHP, ASP or Perl.
This is a compiled language that was developed by Sun Microsystems
to be able to run on all operating systems. and networks.
This made it a natural choice for complex Internet functions,
such as streaming stock quotes, live news feeds, picture
shows, crossword puzzles, games, and more.
Most applications written in Java are called Applets, and
are embedded into HTML along with a reference to another
file containing the source code. The main advantage of Java
Applets is that they can perform complex functions, and
the ease of implementation on web pages. A disadvantage
is that they take much longer to load than standard HTML
applications. An example of a Java Applet is the scrolling
text at the top of our home page.
This is a variation of Java, except it is a scripted language.
HTML for more dynamic web pages. This is the language of
choice for complex functions performed by the browser, as
it is much faster and more stable then Java Applets. An
to yellow when a mouse is passed over it) on the left side
with cookies, form validation, and special text and image
effects. JScript is Microsoft's version of this language.
Frames is a series of web pages linked together by HTML
into a single page. The advantage of frames is that only
a single portion of a page can be navigated, leaving the
rest unchanged. This makes navigation faster and easier.
Our website was designed using frames.
Cookies are small data files sent to local computers by
web browsers to store user identification data or other
information for each visitor to a website. Cookies allow
personalization of web pages for each user, tracking of
visitors, and other user specific functions.
An file usually in GIF, JPEG or Bitmap format used to display
graphics on web browsers.
Free Image Library
An image that moves or changes using a series of frames
grouped together in sequence. Animated images are widely
used in ad banners and for special effects. An example of
an animated image is the banner on top of this page.
Multidimensional animated image application designed by
Macromedia. The advantage of Flash is its quality, movie
like graphics. The disadvantage is that most users do not
have the required software to use this technology, so an
alternate website without Flash must be created.
SERVER SIDE APPLICATIONS
The Server Side component is an application on the server
which first processes the data and then sends it to a web
browser for further processing and display.
Unix and its variations, such as Linux, BSD, FreeBSD and
Solaris are considered the fastest and most reliable server
operating systems used in over 50% of web servers. Unix
supports most server side technologies and databases, including
Windows® NT, Windows® 2000, and the built in Internet
Information Server (IIS) are server operating systems developed
by Microsoft® for networking and the Internet. Although
not considered as stable as Unix, Windows® NT and its
variations are also widely used on web servers.
CGI (Common Gateway Interface) enables the execution of
server side applications such as accessing data sources,
generating dynamic web pages, server administration, etc..
The most common languages used for CGI are Perl, Python,
and C++. CGI scripts can not be embedded into HTML pages,
and are generally placed in a separate executable directory
SSI (Server Side Includes) enables the web server to execute
commands placed into HTML documents. SSI works best for
displaying date and time, merging multiple documents and
CGI scripts, click counters, last modified date, and other
simple server side applications.
This is the latest and most advanced language for server
side applications. PHP is superior to CGI, as it can be
embedded into HTML, and can be executed from any directory
on the server. PHP performs all CGI functions such as accessing
databases, sending and receiving e-mail, reading from and
writing to files, user authentication, form validation,
sever administration, and much more. PHP is a combination
of C, Java, and Perl, making it easy to learn for most developers.
ASP (Active Server Pages) is a server side application platform
developed by Microsoft utilizing its VB Script programming
language. Its advantage is that the code is easier to implement
for those who know VB Script. ASP is similar to PHP as it
can be embedded into HTML.
Cold Fusion is another server side application platform
developed by Allaire Corp. utilizing its proprietary scripting
technology. Cold Fusion is another alternative to PHP and
ASP, as it too can be embedded into HTML.
A plug-in designed by Microsoft which allows applications,
usually written in VB Script, to be embedded in web pages
(similar to Java Applets).
SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is a method of encrypting data
on the internet. Each website must obtain a digital certificate
to prove its true identity to end users. This technology
is used on almost all eCommerce sites to provide a secure
environment for exchanging personal and financial information.
The Database is a necessary component of dynamic, data driven
websites, as it stores and retrieves data in real time.
The primary method of communicating with databases on the
Internet is through server side scripts.
A database especially designed for light to medium size
applications on the Internet. MySQL is preferred by many
developers for its speed and ease of implementation, and
its ability to import data from other databases such as
A database developed by Microsoft for lightweight Intranet
and Internet use. Access is also widely used on the Internet
because of its popularity on personal computers.
Another Microsoft database for lightweight to medium size
Intranet and Internet applications. FoxPro was one of the
first databases used on the Internet.
An industrial strength database designed primarily for large
corporations and government agencies. Oracle is known for
its ability to handle very large volumes and variety of
Another industrial strength database used mainly by large
corporations and government agencies.
To reduce the time it takes to learn the various web programming
languages and design components, there are commercial products
available that incorporate the most essential web authoring
web programming languages, you can use a simple text editor
such as Notepad or Wordpad to build your website. This is
the most basic web authoring tool, and is free.
FrontPage® by Microsoft® is a web authoring program
with a word processor-like feel, enabling web page design
without having to learn HTML. When you enter text or insert
images onto a plain text page, FrontPage® automatically
generates the HTML code necessary to turn the text into
a web page. You can also create special effects, use frames,
edit, and upload your website. The Image Composer and GIF
Animator components can create and edit static and animated
images. FrontPage® is the most popular and easy to use
solution for basic web page design.
A web authoring software package by Macromedia similar to
FrontPage®, but perhaps not as easy to learn for some.
Cold Fusion by Allaire is a software package that provides
web development tools for both client side and server side
applications. It is designed for those who do not know the
individual programming languages involved, such as HTML,
Microsoft's Visual InterDev® is a software package that
provides web development tools for both client side and
server side applications using Microsoft's ASP platform.
Lotus Notes Domino is IBM's proprietary server software
which incorporates a database, server side, and client side
programming functions into a single package. This platform
is mostly used for industrial strength applications which
allow local database functions to operate on the Internet
without extensive modifications.
Photo Shop by Adobe is a professional web graphic design
application package. Photo Shop allows more flexibility
and provides more features than Front Page's Image Composer,
but it is also much more costly. Nevertheless, Photo Shop
is an industry leader for professional graphics design.
When designing your website, it is very important to consider
the following factors:
All websites should be tested in both the Microsoft Internet
Explorer and Netscape Navigator to ensure full compatibility
with both browsers. Sometimes a site may look one way in
the Explorer, but completely different in the Navigator.
Each web page should be designed to fit in the smallest
screen resolution (640 x 480 pixels). Doing so will ensure
that your entire page can be seen in all types of monitors,
regardless of their screen resolution settings. Also, using
tables to define page boundaries allows you to control the
overall layout and appearance of your site.
Please keep in mind that not all users have the same fonts
available on their computers as you do. If your site uses
a font that is not available to a user, his or her browser
will automatically substitute a default font, usually Times
New Roman, making your site appear completely different
from the way you intended. Therefore, whenever possible,
you should use either: Times New Roman, Arial, Helvetica,
or Sans Serif, the most widely available fonts. Font size
can also play an important part in the appearance of your
site. Since users can specify a default font size, there
is no way to guarantee that your text will line up the way
you intended. The best solution is using cascading style
sheets to define the fonts for your entire website.