Website Basics

This page contains three out-of-sight pages that can be brought into view by clicking on each of the three page buttons in the top right of this panel. Once the pages are visible, mouse over the up and down arrows of pages two and three to scroll the content into view.

There are basically three kinds of web sites, static, informational web sites (like this page), dynamic web sites where what you see in your browser is generated "on the fly" from information in data files and other sources, and web applications where the browser provides the user interface and an application on a web server dynamically generates the controls the operator interacts with based on application logic.

Static web sites are very low cost options if you are satisfied with one of the many "canned" styles and can supply your own content. A web site like this can be set up for under 50 bucks with a monthly charge to a web hosting service of $10 to $20. The others cost a good deal more. However, the news isn't all bad. (Click on the page 2 button to continue.)

Dynamic Web Sites

A static web site consists of static HTML files. These files contain text, controls and "tags" describing how the document should be displayed. Dynamic pages contain a mixture of static text and programs which run on the web server. The programs on the web server mix the static with dynamic content (like items and prices from an inventory data file) convert it all to HTML and send it on to the users browser. There are three widely used technologies to produce dynamic web pages, PHP, Sun's Java, and Microsoft's .Net and ASP. PHP and Java technologies are widely supported and free to use. Microsoft's ASP (Active Server Pages) is also widely supported, but .NET support is limited currently to Microsoft Windows platforms and the output limited to Microsoft's browser (if ActiveX controls are used). This is most unfortunate because with the Microsoft provided tools (notably Visual Studio.NET), you can generate a dynamic web site or web applications faster than with any other technology.

Sun's Java web platform technologies includes Java servlets, Java Server Pages (JSP), Java Beans and several other special purpose technologies. Combined, you have full access to the Java language and almost universal hardware support from low power PCs to Unix servers to mainframes. Well designed and attractive applications can be generated for over 95% of the browsers in use. It is also widely supported by third party commercial and open source tool developers. A whole suite of tools is available (notably "Tomcat" and "Struts") that allow you to get a robust, highly scalable web application up in comparatively short order. And it is all available for FREE. The same folks that produce Tomcat and Struts also produce the Apache web server. It too is free and is by far the most widely used web server on the planet. There are also a wide variety of programmning tools available to help lower the amount of developer time required.

PHP is an easy to use programming language that can also be used to produce dynamic web pages. The PHP program runs on the web server (as do the other two technologies) and HTML is produced and sent to the browser. Just about anything you can do with .NET or Java, you can do with PHP well. It is also much easier to use natively (using a text editor as opposed to a fancy "what you see is what you get" editor) than with the other technologies. It too enjoys wide support by third party vendors for database services, mail, and so on. It is, in my view, the best choice for smaller projects. Its major drawback is the lack of tools to shorten development time. On the other hand, there are any number of open source PHP applications that can be used to shortcut the development process.

Panel Three

This Panel is equipped with dhtml scrollbars to accomodate its additional content. The scrollers can easily be made to appear for the other panels, as well.

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and for starters...

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit, sed diam nonummy nibh euismod tincidunt ut laoreet dolore magna aliquam erat volutpat. Ut wisi enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exerci tation ullamcorper suscipit lobortis nisl ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis autem vel eum iriure dolor in hendrerit in vulputate velit esse molestie consequat, vel illum dolore eu feugiat nulla facilisis at vero eros et accumsan et iusto odio dignissim qui blandit praesent luptatum zzril delenit augue duis dolore te feugait nulla facilisi.