Web technologies for a static web site and “front-end” (client-side) interactivity.

Let us start form a simple static web site. The web pages are constructed using HTML and most often CSS (Cascading Style Sheets), graphics and other media can be embedded within a web page.

For building a simple, static web site HTML and CSS are standards.

HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) will be used to deliver those pages over the internet, but this is something nether you or developer does not even need to know about.

Some software will be used in the process to create web pages. Notepad can be used and some developers are very proud to get away with a simple text editor – this proves they know all HTML and CSS tags by hart. But for a business the important thing is efficiency – you want to get more for the money you pay, so you should not mind if your web developer will use some specialised software packages, such as Adobe Dreamweaver to generate HTML code automatically. Yes HTML editors can sometimes generate superficial code. Experts might argue that a messy code can affect search engine friendliness of the site, increase page load speed, and make the HTML difficult to comprehend. Our experience show that code generated by web design software will be reasonable and any minor problems will not overweigh the productivity gain. The software-generated HTML code, in majority of cases will not affect user experience or search engine spiderability.

You need to be aware that there are different ways code complex page layouts: it can be implemented using tables, or using layers (table-less design). It is also a good practice to separate content from presentation using CSS. There some other aspects of web page coding, but this is a topic for a separate article, and not something we need to conceder in detail at this point.

If you have to move to web-site interactivity: say you want to add drop-down menus to your web site, or display current time on the home page, or say, provide your users with a calculator of some sort: a currency convertor for example – HTML will not be sufficient anymore, and your web developer will need to use a programming language to achieve that. HTML is a mark-up language, land different from programming language because it does not provide for any logical or mathematical operations, cannot take any data input and it cannot output information based on the data processed.

The standard language for web page programming is JavaScript. HTML is extremely easy to learn that is why many graphic designers moved into web design, picking up HTML skills on the go. JavaScript is a step up to a “proper” programming. But with JavaScript there is a way to get away with very little knowledge. Most of typical tasks are already solved by web community and thousands of scripts are available from script archives. Those archives have demos as well. So you can do the job of your web programmer and save some money, by locating required functionality in those archives. You can also point your web developers to a web site that has similar functionality – in most cases they can look into the code and figure out what JavaScript libraries are used to create that particular effect.

JavaScript is a standard language for implementing basic interactivity on a web page. Or technically speaking on a “client-side”, as there is no data sent or received from the server.

Do not mix Java and JavaScript by the way. JavaScript has “Java” in it because the language syntax is similar. But they are completely different things. Java technology is used for server based programming. And the word “Script” in JavaScript means that it is something much smaller and lighter then a proper (computer) “program”.