CSS, HTML, PHP, Jquery, SQL, WTF?

Those are just some abbreviations well known in the web developers world, and most likely you will have heard of at least one of them. But what do they mean, and what’s their role in making up your website?

A modern website such as produced by allBW is composed using a variety of languages, which can be divided into three sections: formatting and layout, programming, and database queries. Each does their own specific job but is often used in conjunction with one or more other languages or scripts.

Formatting

HTML

HTML stands for HyperText Markup Language, and has been used since websites came into being. It consists of tags that are not seen by the end user but are interpreted by browsers such as Firefox and Internet Explorer to show text and images in the format and place that the webdesigner intends. For example this word would read as <b>word</b> in the code that makes up a web page, b for bold.
An image would be placed like <img src=”folder-of-the-image/image.jpg” />, which tells the browser where the image is located on the server.

There are many tags, and with the advent of HTML5 things have taken another leap again which I won’t go into now.

CSS

HTML is often used in conjunction with CSS which stands for Cascading Style Sheets. In fact a lot of the formatting properties of HTML are now performed by CSS which is much more powerful in its ability to display a web page exactly as you want it, and HTML in a modern website is only used to provide a very basic framework.

Your browser interpretes CSS like it does with HTML to decide what the web page should look like, and will render it accordingly. Most up to date browsers do this pretty well uniformly, but there are always exceptions and these drive web developers NUTS (not an abbreviation). A webpage can look as intended in Firefox but because of a different interpretation of the CSS might look out of whack in IE. Countless hours are spent making web pages appear the same in all browsers.

This word looks like this in the code that makes up this web page:
<span style=”font-weight: bold;”>word</span>
More lengthy than the html code but trust me, CSS is The Right Stuff.

Programming

PHP

PHP is one of the most popular so-called Server Side programming languages, and helps to turn your website into a changeable dynamic structure. It is especially handy to retrieve data from a database, and display that on a webpage.

A server side language is called that because all the processing happens on the hosting server where the website lives, before the page is sent to a user’s browser.

Jquery and Javascript

Javascript is a so-called client side language, and is executed on your own computer when you view a web page. It’s often used to add visual gadgets to a page, as well as form data checking. Whenever you see things happening, shaking and moving when you hover over a section of a web page, it’s usually Javascript that is used to create the effect.

Jquery is one of 3 or 4 popular Javascript “libraries”, a simplified way of using Javascript to quickly achieve results.

Database Queries

SQL

A lot of sites that are produced nowadays use an online database program, often MySql. To retrieve content from the database, the SQL language is used, most often in conjunction with a server side language such as PHP or ASP.
A typical SQL query reads something like: “SELECT name FROM members WHERE member_id = 25″. It’s all plain language really, it says: out of the database table members,  gimme the name of the dude that has a member ID  of 25.

SQL queries can be immensely complex as well, if you want to really filter down in a database which has a lot of tables and records.

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