Building Web Sites All-in-One For Dummies®

Building Web Sites All-in-One For Dummies® by Claudia Snell

Book: Building Web Sites All-in-One For Dummies® by Claudia Snell Read Free Book Online
Authors: Claudia Snell
or .html — is a dynamic page.
    You can create dynamic pages using any of several technologies. You’re likely to hear about ASP (Active Server Pages), JSP (JavaServer Pages), and ColdFusion when you start looking into dynamic Web sites. (You can find more information about using ASP to create dynamic Web pages in Book VI, Chapter 2.) If you want a page to really interact and react to your visitors, you need dynamic functionality. The pages can be the same for each visitor, and you don’t need to pull out the big guns.
    When talking about dynamic Web sites, you’ll hear certain terms, including these:
    â€¢ Front end: This is code — the CSS and HTML wrapped around the information that’s being delivered from the database — that deals with how the information is displayed.
    â€¢ Back end: This refers to the database and supporting structures.
    â€¢ Middleware: This is the collection of code that communicates with the server, the database, and the front-end code. It’s just what it sounds like — the middleman between the front and back.
    Each area — front, back, and middle — requires different skill sets to create. If you’ll be collecting personal information or allowing purchases on your site, you need to take special care in building the middle and back-end pieces to avoid any problems.
    Evaluating multimedia element choices
    Multimedia is a broad term that includes video, sound, animations, and other presentations. Multimedia isn’t a series of HTML pages that are navigated in a linear fashion. Although the effect is similar to a presentation, it’s not multimedia unless it’s actually a self-contained piece embedded in a Web page.
    Multimedia elements can be dynamic, depending on what type of multimedia you use. For instance, Flash can communicate with databases and serve dynamic content — dynamic multimedia. Flash can also collect information from your visitors by using forms, and can then deliver the information to your server. When you use Flash this way, the Flash element is said to be the front end. You can use Flash to create a form (see Figure 1-3) that passes information to a database.
    Figure 1-3: You can use Flash to collect information to be passed to a database.

    You can deliver multimedia content in many different ways, and which way you choose to use depends on many factors. The most important things to consider are what the multimedia content is and what you’re trying to accomplish. If you’re trying to let your visitors hear some music, you need to look into formats that let you get the music to your visitors easily and well. Figure 1-4 shows a Flash-based jukebox used to deliver MP3 files to users.
    Figure 1-4: A Flash jukebox delivering music files.

    Making a decision about what types of multimedia to use (if any) is an involved process. You must think about the pros and cons: Essentially, you’re weighing functionality against the technological constraints of your audience and your own ability to build and maintain the piece. You have to consider your individual situation on each project. To help you decide, consider the following:
    â€¢ Your current resources: Do you have software to create multimedia elements? Can you purchase the software? After you purchase software, do you, or anyone on your team, know how to use the software well enough to create your project? Is it feasible to call in a specialist if you don’t have the software and skill set available to you?
    â€¢ Target audience: You must know whether the site’s visitors appreciate multimedia elements or find them annoying. Are you targeting individuals with newer machines and good connections to the Web, or are you trying to target a more general audience? Targeting broader audiences generally means that you should stay more conservative in your multimedia methods and deliveries and pay special attention to file sizes and download

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