introduction

the Internet model

internet model



The Web server stores Web pages as .html files.

The Web browser (the client) reads the .html file, interprets the code and displays the page.

A normal Web page is static - to change what the user sees you must change the .html file. Some information can be changed dynamically in the client. For example, you may want to dispaly the current date. Obviously, you don't want to have to change the date in every page of the website every morning. So, you create a small program to display the date using information stored in the client computer. You write the program using a scripting language. The most commonly used scripting laguage is Javascript. Since the script is run from the local browser, (the client), we'll refer to "client-side scripting".

To create a page which is dynamic, one that changes constantly, such as a price list or a hotel reservation, you will have to obtain information stored on a database server. To access the database we'll use a combination of HTML and PHP. We'll refer to "server-side scripting" because the processsing is done on the Web server.





a few definitions

  • Website: a series of related Web pages.
    A homepage to greet the customer, a page to list the products, a page for the prices, etc.
    We navigate between pages using links, which are usually blue and underlined; each link contains the address (also called URL) of another page.

  • Web Browser: a program that interprets and displays Web pages.
    The most common browsers: Internet Explorer, Firefox and the newest, Chrome from Google.

    For the client there is not much difference between browsers - it's a question of preferences and features.

    IE has approx. 60% of the market, Firefox 30% and Chrome has 3%. Others include Apple's Safari, Opera, etc.

    For the designer there are a few precautions to be taken since the browsers don't all interpret the code in the same way. That's even more true with CSS stylesheets which we'll study later.
    When you design a website it's important that you test the results with all of the major browsers to make sure that the client is seeing what you expect him to see.

  • Search engine: a site which indexes Web pages and supplies links based on keywords.

    Google
    Yahoo!
    Bing (new from Microsoft)


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developer's toolbox

  • A good HTML editor.
    You could use Notepad from your Windows environment, but it's really too basic. However, Notepad++ is an excellent replacement for the original Notepad and it has one really useful feature when you start Javascript and PHP and that is: line numbers.
    For all my development I use: Arachnophilia, a powerful, flexible and free Java editor.

  • An image editor.
    You could use the one in Windows but it's not that great.
    I recommend: FastStone Capture 6.3. It's an inexpensive shareware and it has a very useful screen capture utility that will help with your websites.
    If you have Photoshop, that's great. However, if you can't afford Photoshop there is an open-source software equivalent that will do great work for you. You can download it from the website: GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program)

  • And, finally, let's talk about FTP. You may not know what that is yet but you will. You use FTP to transfer files from your home computer to the Web server (assuming that you don't have a Web server at home).
    The open-source FTP client: Filezilla is the best one to use for our purposes.



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