Website

Website Design and Development with history.

The World Wide Web (WWW) was created in 1990 by the British CERN physicist Tim Berners-Lee On 30 April 1993, CERN announced that the World Wide Web would be free to use for anyone Before the introduction of HTML and HTTP, other protocols such as File Transfer Protocol and the gopher protocol were used to retrieve individual files from a server. These protocols offer a simple directory structure which the user navigates and chooses files to download. Documents were most often presented as plain text files without formatting, or were encoded in word processor formats.

A website, also written as web site is a collection of related web pages, including multimedia content, typically identified with a common domain name, and published on at least one web server. A web site may be accessible via a public Internet Protocol (IP) network, such as the Internet, or a private local area network (LAN), by referencing a uniform resource locator (URL) that identifies the site.

Websites have many functions and can be used in various fashions; a website can be a personal website, a commercial website, a government website or a non-profit organization website. Websites can be the work of an individual, a business or other organization, and are typically dedicated to a particular topic or purpose. Any website can contain a hyperlink to any other website, so the distinction between individual sites, as perceived by the user, can be blurred. Websites are written in, or converted to, HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language) and are accessed using a software interface classified as a user agent. Web pages can be viewed or otherwise accessed from a range of computer-based and Internet-enabled devices of various sizes, including desktop computers, laptops, PDAs and cell phones. A website is hosted on a computer system known as a web server, also called an HTTP server. These terms can also refer to the software that runs on these systems which retrieves and delivers the web pages in response to requests from the website's users. Apache is the most commonly used web server software (according to Netcraft statistics) and Microsoft's IIS is also commonly used. Some alternatives, such as Nginx, Lighttpd, Hiawatha or Cherokee, are fully functional and lightweight.

Static website

A static website is one that has web pages stored on the server in the format that is sent to a client web browser. It is primarily coded in Hypertext Markup Language (HTML);Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) are used to control appearance beyond basic HTML. Images are commonly used to effect the desired appearance and as part of the main content. Audio or video might also be considered "static" content if it plays automatically or is generally non-interactive. This type of website usually displays the same information to all visitors. Similar to handing out a printed brochure to customers or clients, a static website will generally provide consistent, standard information for an extended period of time. Although the website owner may make updates periodically, it is a manual process to edit the text, photos and other content and may require basic website design skills and software. Simple forms or marketing examples of websites, such as classic website, a five-page website or a brochure website are often static websites, because they present pre-defined, static information to the user. This may include information about a company and its products and services through text, photos, animations, audio/video, and navigation menus.

Static web sites can be edited using four broad categories of software:

  • Text editors, such as Notepad or TextEdit, where content and HTML markup are manipulated directly within the editor program
  • WYSIWYG offline editors, such as Microsoft FrontPage and Adobe Dreamweaver (previously Macromedia Dreamweaver), with which the site is edited using a GUI and the final HTML markup is generated automatically by the editor software
  • WYSIWYG online editors which create media rich online presentation like web pages, widgets, intro, blogs, and other documents.
  • Template-based editors such as iWeb allow users to create and upload web pages to a web server without detailed HTML knowledge, as they pick a suitable template from a palette and add pictures and text to it in a desktop publishing fashion without direct manipulation of HTML code.

 

Static websites may still use server side includes (SSI) as an editing convenience, such as sharing a common menu bar across many pages. As the site's behaviour to the readeris still static, this is not considered a dynamic site.

Dynamic website

A dynamic website is one that changes or customizes itself frequently and automatically. Server-side dynamic pages are generated "on the fly" by computer code that produces the HTML (CSS are responsible for appearance and thus, are static files). There are a wide range of software systems, such as CGI, Java Servlets and Java Server Pages (JSP), Active Server Pages and ColdFusion (CFML) that are available to generate dynamic web systems and dynamic sites. Various web application frameworks and web template systems are available for general-use programming languages like Perl, PHP, Python and Ruby to make it faster and easier to create complex dynamic web sites.

A site can display the current state of a dialogue between users, monitor a changing situation, or provide information in some way personalized to the requirements of the individual user. For example, when the front page of a news site is requested, the code running on the web server might combine stored HTML fragments with news stories retrieved from a database or another web site via RSS to produce a page that includes the latest information. Dynamic sites can be interactive by using HTML forms, storing and reading back browser cookies, or by creating a series of pages that reflect the previous history of clicks. Another example of dynamic content is when a retail website with a database of media products allows a user to input a search request, e.g. for the keyword Beatles. In response, the content of the web page will spontaneously change the way it looked before, and will then display a list of Beatles products like CDs, DVDs and books. Dynamic HTML uses JavaScript code to instruct the web browser how to interactively modify the page contents. One way to simulate a certain type of dynamic web site while avoiding the performance loss of initiating the dynamic engine on a per-user or per-connection basis, is to periodically automatically regenerate a large series of static pages.

Static v Dynamic Website Design

There are basically two main types of website - static and dynamic.
A static site is one that is usually written in plain HTML and what is in the code of the page is what is displayed to the user.

A dynamic site is one that is written using a server-side scripting language such as PHP, ASP, JSP, or Coldfusion. In such a site the content is called in by the scripting language from other files or from a database depending on actions taken by the user.

Relative merits of static and dynamic websites

Static sites - advantages

Flexibility is the main advantage of a static site - every page can be different if desired, to match the layout to different content, and the designer is free to put in any special effects that a client may ask for in a unique way on different pages. This allows theming - for instance an author may want a different theme for a different book and associated pages or perhaps for a series of books, in order to match the cover designs or the context of the stories.

Cost is generally lower up-front than a dynamic site.

Static sites - disadvantages

The main problem with any static site appears when you wish to update the content. Unless you are conversant with HTML and the design methods used in the site then you have to go back to the designer to have any content changes made. This may be perfectly ok when a new page is required which needs design input, but if all you want to do is change some text then it can be a nuisance for both client and designer.

The second main problem is scalability. If you wish to sell products on your site and you have a lot of them then you may have to construct individual pages for each one, which can take considerable time, effort and cost.

Costs - there are ongoing costs for updating the content.

Dynamic sites - advantages

The main advantages of dynamic sites are that by connecting them to databases you can easily pull in information in an organised and structured way to create product pages or categories of related products sorted in a variety of different ways depending on how the user wants to view them.

This ability to connect to a database means that you can also create a content management system - an interface which allows the client to input and manage data via a web-based series of administration pages. That content can be text for their pages and images to go along with the text, or items in their product range with categories, specifications, short and long descriptions, images, etc. In both these cases it can be as simple or as complex as the client requires.

There are little or no ongoing costs unless there is a change in the basic design or an extra capability added.

Dynamic sites - disadvantages

The design of a dynamic site is more fixed than a static one because many of the pages are essentially a template into which data and content is poured to create multiple pages of a similar type. So for instance all your product pages will be essentially the same page layout with different data being displayed. While some customisation cabability can be built in it is usually quite limited, such a selecting from a set of pre-defined options. Individual layout changes to particular pages are not usually possible.

Costs are higher initially than for a static site, and additional functionality may also cost more, particularly if it's something that wasn't envisaged originally and requires re-writing of the core code or database.

What si Web Development ?

Web development is a broad term for the work involved in developing a web site for the Internet (World Wide Web) or an intranet (a private network). ... Among webprofessionals, "web development" usually refers to the main non-design aspects of building web sites: writing markup and coding.

What is Web Design?

Web design is a process of conceptualizing, planning, and building a collection of electronic files that determine the layout, colors, text styles, structure, graphics, images, and use of interactive features that deliver pages to your site visitors.