A Web Development Primer

By Ahmad Permessur

mySQL

Without the use of databases, the Internet as we know it would be impossible to manage. A database allows you to store information in a categorized way, making data storage, retrieval, sorting and other data manipulation tasks easier. As we’ve seen with ASP and PHP, these scripting languages can be made to interact with databases. MySQL is one of the fastest SQL (Structured Query Language) database servers currently on the market. The MySQL server is free, and can be downloaded at http://www.mysql.com/. It's available under both GPL and commercial license. You'll find more info at: http://www.mysql.com/company/legal/licensing/opensource-license.html Compared to other databases servers on the Net, MySQL has quickly gained popularity due to its various features. Some of these are the storage of millions of records, very fast queries (command) execution and ability to handle multiple users and user’s permission.

ColdFusion

ColdFusion was originally designed by Allaire, and then bought by Macromedia. The main part of ColdFusion is the ColdFusion Server, and ColdFusion Markup Language (CFML). CFML is a unique language, as it is tag based and is similar to HTML. Beginning server-side programmers might find ColdFusion the easiest language to learn, as it is broken up in tag blocks. ColdFusion is so easy to use you can have a database driven site up in about two hours, even if you know no SQL and have only a small data store. ColdFusion gives you all of the benefits of CGI plus easy database access and easy to create forms and dynamic pages. ColdFusion is available for different platforms, including Unix and Windows operating systems. It is supported by many authoring tool and is well documented.

Domain Names

How do domain names work?

Before going in depth in domain names issues, let us first understand the need of a domain name. As mentioned earlier, your webpage will be hosted on your web host's server. Usually that server will have a unique Internet Protocol (IP) address or encoded URLs which might look something like:

http://203.245.254.107

Now, just sit back and think that how troublesome this would be to type in. This is where domain names come into play. Domain names will mask all these numerous numbers into something simpler like http://www.yoursitename.com When a user types the domain name yoursite.com in their browser, the Domain Name System (DNS) will translate the domain name into IP numbers. These are then used by the Internet to connect the user to yoursite.com’s web site. Domain names give you a unique identity on the Internet, creating your online brand, and your email addresses will have a more professional look, being unique to your business.

How do I acquire a domain name?

There are two main ways you can get a domain name. You can either register your domain name yourself or you can get your web host or ISP (Internet Service Provider) to register it for you.

To register a domain name yourself you will need to choose a Registrar. A Registrar is an ICANN accredited domain registration company. There are hundreds of Registrars on the Internet nowadays.

Hosting

Think of hosting or a web host as a place to store your website. The Internet is up 24/7/365 and is a worldwide network of computers. For many people, a permanent connection to the Internet in their homes or small business is not practical or affordable. Since most people use dialup, it's not practical to have your Web site on your home computer. When you're offline, so is your Web site. The solution is to have it located somewhere that is always online so others can send you mail or find your website—even when you are asleep.

Where do I get hosting?

There are tons of both paid and free web hosting companies on the Internet. Just do a search on the term ‘web hosting’ and you’ll be presented with a seemingly endless list of web hosting companies. Those that offer free hosting usually have advertisement banners on them; while this may be an annoyance to you if you are hosting your business site, it is quite convenient for the beginners to try it first before going to a paid one. Choosing the right web hosting for your needs is an important decision making stage.

I've gotten hosting, what's next?

Once you've selected your hosting package, you'll have to upload your files to your web host's server. That process varies from web hosting companies. Most of them use something called FTP which stands for File Transfer Protocol. FTP provides you with an interface which interacts with your local computer and the web host, and allows you to transfer your files easily, similar to the way you transfer files from one folder to the other on your hard disk.

Conclusion

After reading this article, you should have a good understanding on client-side, server-side technologies, hosting, and domain names issues. I hope that it will help you create quality Web sites.

About the Author

Ahmad Permessur is the Content Director for iNET Interactive, LLC a media content management agency with a portfolio of web portals within specific vertical markets. They provide interactive content and marketing consulting services.




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