php, javascript & database What is Web development?

Webdevelopment is a collective term that is used for everything that has to do with realizing a website. This includes: web design, client-side and server-side programming and management of web servers.

Passive and active websites

If you have one or more pages with a piece of text and possibly a few pictures, you can already speak of a website. Such a website is called a passive website because it does nothing but show a static text and any pictures. But as soon as you want a visitor to be able to register on your website (e.g. for a forum), or for up-to-date information to be displayed, it is necessary for the website to be able to store its data in a database. Then you speak of an active website. The content of the website is actively composed with data from a database. To automate these actions, scripting is used: describing actions that the computer or server has to perform. Scripting can be divided into two main groups: client-side and server-side scripting.

Client-side scripting

A client-side script is a script that is executed by the website visitor's browser. Several scripting languages are available, such as VBScript and JScript. Usually sites work with JavaScript, because all browser types support JavaScript. VBScript, for example, is only supported by Internet Explorer and not by Mozilla Firefox.

Client-side scripting is often used in combination with DHTML (Dynamic HTML). Think of copying or hiding a text field if necessary, but also checking whether you have filled in all the information in a registration form. On a well thought-out website, you will never find security-critical functions that need to be performed by a client-side script.

Server-side scripting

Server-side script is a script that is not executed by the browser, but by the web server. The web server executes the actions described in the script, such as calling a database, and compiles an HTML file on the basis of this. This file is then sent to the client (the browser of the website visitor). The client therefore never sees the server-side script, because it can contain crucial information, such as database passwords.

The most popular languages for server-side scripting are ASP, ASP.NET and PHP. ASP.NET is the successor of ASP (Active Server Pages), both from Microsoft. Although ASP is still occasionally used by (mainly smaller) companies, its successor ASP.NET is the most popular of the two. Until 2008, larger IT companies in particular preferred this language, mainly because of its object-oriented properties, which make it easier to build and maintain large, complex systems. Since the introduction of PHP version 5, more and more large IT companies are switching to PHP because the new version focuses on object-oriented software and complex structures. PHP (PHP Hypertext Preprocessor) has been popular among amateurs and smaller web companies since the stable version 3. This is mainly due to the fact that the language has a fairly simple structure and can therefore be learned fairly quickly. Other advantages of PHP are that, due to the way the script is executed, these websites load very quickly. The investment costs are also low because PHP is an open source project and can therefore be used free of charge. PHP can run very well on a PC or server under Windows, but is actually intended to be used in a LAMP configuration. This is the combination of four open source projects: a Linux operating system with an Apache web server, a MySQL database and PHP script support.

In addition to the scripting languages mentioned above, there are also less widely used languages, such as Perl, ColdFusion, Python and Ruby.

Content management systems (CMS)

In recent years, ready-made content management systems have become increasingly popular. In addition to various professional commercial systems, various open source systems are available, such as XOOPS, Joomla!, WordPress, TYPO3 and Drupal. This makes it possible to build an active website without having to write one line of script. In these systems you can configure a complete website using ready-made templates and all kinds of pre-filled settings. However, it takes a lot of time, energy and insight to become familiar with such a system. 

These - often open source - content management systems are a very popular target for hackers who want to spread viruses or use hacked websites for phishing purposes.

We have developed our own CMS and CRM (Customer Relationship Management’ ) systems, that are very scalable but still easy to use. Please contact us for an appointment, and we can show you our own developed systems.