Following on from my Ten Techie Terms post here are some more jargon busting goodies.
1. Web Standards
Comment: The W3C are not the be all and end all of web standards and have often found themselves reacting to developments rather than leading them.
2. Client Side Technologies
Client Side Technologies run on the .. er .. client. Yep, great so what is the client. Lots of computing involves a client -> server relationship. This takes the form of the server as a host for information. The client requests information from this server. In web technologies the server is a web server that hosts a web site and the client is the web browser used to request pages from the host/server. Web browsers such as Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Opera and Safari are all classified as client side technologies. Now the thing with client is that are all different. We may have ‘web standards’ but each of these clients has its own interpretation of these standards. In recent years adherence to web standards has improved dramatically but be careful you still need to do lots of client side testing of your client side technologies.
3. Server Side Technologies
So if client side technologies run in the client then, you guessed it, server side technologies run on the server. That is your web server. Web servers can have software installed on them as well as the server software itself. These are known as server side technologies. Most commonly these are used for producing content on the fly from databases. That is using a backend database to provide the data used to construct the web pages. To interrogate a database numerous server side technologies are available. ASP.NET is a Microsoft technology, Coldfusion an Adobe technology and PHP an open source technology all of which pretty much do the same thing – query a database to retrieve data that is used as the content in a web page. When looking for web hosting you will need to consider which server side technology you wish to use. Given host packages are available including different server side technologies. For example, a common host package is to offer PHP as the server side script and MySQL as the database back end. This combination is so common that PHP/MySQL often appears as one long acronym whereas these are actually two unrelated technologies.
Tip: You may well have noticed that all web pages don’t have HTML file extensions. We also have ASPX, PHP, CFM, JSP to name but a few. These are all examples of server side scripts. View source in your browser won’t reveal any of the server side code as the processing is of course done on the server side.
Like John Travolta SQL has been around since the 1970s. SQL stands for Structured Query Language and is a language used to create and query relational databases. When you arrive at the point in your web development career that you need a database, it is in all likelihood to be a relational database that supports SQL such as MySQL, Microsoft’s SQLServer or Oracle. Therefore you will find yourself with another language to learn. The good news is that SQL is relatively straight forward, some would say, almost verbatim in syntax. When you set off to build your first PHP/ MySQL website get some SQL under your belt first. W3Schools offer a good starting point.
Tip: Pronounce SQL as “es queue elle” not as “see qwell”. Well that is my opinion anyway.
6. Browser Plugins
7. CMS – Content Management Systems
WordPress, Joomla, Drupal are all examples of Content Management Systems. These are browser based frontends that update and add web site content by managing a database behind the site. This site is running WordPress. WordPress is itself running on PHP and MySQL. WordPress is the most popular of the CMS/Blogging softwares available with a billion trillion installs probably (citation needed). Joking aside it is used for humble sites like this right through to behemoths like CNN.
Bitmap is an image file format. A bitmap is literally a map of bits or pixels that make up an image. Zoom in on any image saved from the web and you will start to see the pixel bricks that make up that image.
Images can also be created electronically using vector technologies. Here instead of mapping out all those pixels, mathematics is used to draw shapes. Particularly good for lines, curves and simple shapes. Vectors are resolution independent meaning they scale without becoming pixelated.
When a vectors and bitmaps is created for use on a computer screen, it uses what is known as RGB colours. That is Red, Green and Blue. RGB colours are what we use to create colours to be viewed through a screen. As opposed to CMYK which is used to create colours for print – CMYK stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black (K for Black so not to be confused with B for Blue)