How to Get Started in Web Development

web development
Daniel Iversen / Flickr / CC BY 2.0
Stuff You Need to Know, and Stuff You Need to Get

Let’s go through all the different kinds of languages there are.

Markup Language

A markup language is a language used to describe the content it contains, generally using tags. HTML is the standard for a markup language. However, due to the inconsistency and sloppiness of HTML, the W3C created XHTML (eXtensible HTML) using XML, a language used to create another markup language. Also, CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) is a technique used to separate the styling from the content.

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Client-Side Scripting Language

Ever heard of JavaScript? Well, that’s what this is. A client-side scripting language enables web pages to change dynamically. Without a client-side script, there wouldn’t be much to the internet besides text, images, and various ways to position the two.

There are many other client side scripts. ActionScript is used to make Adobe Flash elements. AJAX is used to load certain parts of pages without reloading the whole thing. VBScript and JScript are Microsoft’s client-side scripts. But, although using a client-side script gives a great user experience, there is no way to put any security into it, as the user’s browser is the one interpreting the code. But to the rescue comes:

Server Side Scripting

When you are running an eCommerce site, you need to have a high amount of security built into everything you do. Server side scripting can accomplish that. There are several server-side scripts- PHP, Perl, CGI, Ruby, ASP, ASP.NET, JSP, Coldfusion. They all vary in their functionality and uses.

PHP is the most compatible and is evolving rapidly. Perl and CGI are old but can be still useful. Ruby has very simple syntax, but in scripts, that can be good. ASP (Active Server Pages) is Microsoft’s original server side script that uses VBScript as a medium (on the server-side, yes) but only runs on Windows. JSP (JavaServer Pages) is Sun Microsystem’s server side script. It uses Java as a language, but it requires Sun Glassfish as a medium and is not very widespread. ColdFusion is Adobe’s server-side script (pretty expensive).

Then, you have databases. All databases use SQL (which doesn’t legitimately stand for anything) as a script to add, create, insert, delete, and modify objects and data. MySQL is the most widespread and works very well with PHP. Microsoft SQL Server is very functional with Windows-based servers. Oracle is the best bet for huge corporations. Others include: DB2, PostgreSQL, Access, etc.

After all that, you’ll need software to manage all your data.

First, you’ll need a good IDE (Integrated Development Environment) to edit your code. Some good IDEs for various purposes include NetBeans, Visual Studio, Eclipse, HTML-Kit, Notepad.

An office suite to keep track of things: OpenOffice.org, Microsoft Office.

A WYSIWYG (What you see is what you get) editor to make pixel-sizing operations easier on your eyes: Microsoft Frontpage (discontinued but some are still using it), Adobe Dreamweaver.

An FTP client to get files up to the server without bothering with your host’s file manager: FileZilla.

Image editors to create good graphics: Paint.NET, Inkscape, GIMP.

SiteAdvisor so you can tell if you accidentally put bad advertisements: McAfee SiteAdvisor.

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Norman Anthony Balberan

Anything out of the ordinary (?) Utopian dream, crashed and merged with unstable consequences causing mayhem...

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