Category Archives: HTML5

How HTML Functions


The Hypertext Markup Language is generally saved in the text format and is specifically invented to be viewed and edited on any computers’ operating system that is capable of linking to the internet. The XHTML is the newer version of the HTML, designed to apply the use of extensible markup language syntax and rules to allow web developers to persist in their development of advanced web pages. The documents contain tags comprise of an opening or closing tag, to complement it as a well-formed document. The opening and closing tags will have similar names although they will be preceded by the “/” symbol.

Speaking of how HTML works, you should be aware that any related documents should be completed with a HTML and BODY tag. They are needed to be displayed in the web page. Other tags that you will commonly observe in the HTML pages include those called TITLE, HEAD and P or paragraph tags. The tag of HTML in the code will declare the document to type the term “HTML” in the web browser. The tag having the sub-tag of will display the Title in the web page as well as storing the Meta data and Javascript information for the web browser.

Subsequently, the tag contains other displayable data in the Hypertext Markup Language document besides including the header tag of declaration. It also defines a new paragraph tag. Albeit the availability of the page to be displayed without the tags being correspondent to their closing tags, they are somehow not considered to be a well-formatted document. In fact, these documents may encounter errors in displaying the necessary data if the tags are not properly closed.

Some people may want to know how does HTML work to embed pictures. Mostly or virtually all internet browsers are created to embed images either in the JPEG, PNG, or GIF format as well as newer ones supporting the SVG format of display. The HTML code will play the role of providing references to any images stored on the web server, along with the details of the size or Meta information. These data are required in order for the images to be displayed properly. If the pictures cannot be retrieved from the server, an alternative platform of information is always included to provide backup details for people who face difficulties viewing the images. Among the common tags used to display pictures in the HTML documents is the tag. The image code will try to rediscover the image as well as displaying the message of “my test image” to the end user if it happens that the image cannot be viewed.



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Web Application Development – Basic Knowledge


The internet has undergone a sea of change ever since it came into existence. The evolution of the internet has not stopped but it is still developing while this article is being written. Somewhere someone is developing a new technology or trying to improve upon the current technology available for web application development. The positive changes are taking place on all the fronts of the internet. The best example for this is increase in the accessibility of the internet through not only the desktop computers but also the mobile phone devices.

The application development is about developing applications that can be presented forth the internet user in the form of a software package. The best and the most common example of application is the website.

The first thing to be known and understood before starting any development project is to assess its need. There could be different needs of the web application such as promotion of products or services or it could be sharing information or even just socializing. This is from the perspective of the web application owner. This is not enough. The web application developer needs to also consider the interest of the targeted audience or the market segment.

The technology is improving day after day and the application needs to be developed with the optimum use of the latest technology available. When the application is developed with the help of the latest technology the results are supposed to be better than that with the earlier old technology.

The security of the application is nowadays a prime concern of the web application developers. Nowadays the online buyers want to not only place the orders through the application but also want to pay the bills through the web application. This implies that the tools used for transfer have to be totally secured especially with reference to the username and password used for transferring the money.

When any web application is to be development, the developer needs to first decide about the type of service to be offered through the application. The three types of services that are offered through application are business services, user service and data service. Before commencing the work on any application project the developer should assess the resources available and the technical skills of the team entrusted with development. The budget allocation should be one of the prime considerations before starting the web application development.

Web application development can be completed in four stages. The first stage is about preparing the project layout the direction, focus and features of the project are included in this stage. The plan of the whole project is created in the second stage. Third stage includes project development as per the needs identified earlier. The project cannot be said to be competed unless the stability of project is tested. This checking is done in the fourth stage of application development. The development project has to be divided into the above mentioned four stages to ensure that the application serves the purpose for which it has been created.

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Do Alt and Title Attributes Help With SEO?


A highly talked about topic is the SEO world is, “Do Alt and Title Attributes Help with SEO?” Well to help shed a little light on this topic, I did some research and came up with a few good conclusions. I’m not suggesting these are 100% accurate but from my initial research they seem to be right on target. I welcome all other SEO experts to share their opinions on this topic by posting their comments – because as we all know, every little bit of information can help us all.

Well to start, I want to provide a brief introduction of each attribute to help you understand their “intended” purpose.

The alt attribute is, popularly and incorrectly referred to as an alt tag and is commonly misunderstood to provide a tool-tip for an image. Both of these are incorrect. First of all, the alt attribute is an attribute and not a tag. The alt attribute was always intended to provide alternative information about an element and is generally required for image and image maps and is not meant to be used to display a tool-tip. The alt attribute, can be used for the img, area, and input elements to help provide alternative information to users who cannot display that element in their browser. As an example, here is how you would define an alt attribute for an image: <img src=”imagepath.gif” alt=”this is our company logo”>. If the image is not displayed the text, “this is our company logo” will be displayed in the place of the image.

The title attribute, on the other hand, is meant to provide additional information about an element, which is displayed as a tool-tip by most graphical browsers. The title attribute can be used to describe any HTML element except for base, basefont, head, html, meta, param, script, and title.

An excellent use for the title attribute is to provide descriptive text within an anchor tag to let the users know where the link will direct them if they click on it. When the user places their mouse over the link, it will display a small tool-tip displaying the title text that you’ve provided. An example would be

So as you can see the alt and title attributes have different purposes but how do they affect SEO? This is the true question we all want to know and understand. Do they help with SEO or are they simply ignored by the search engines? I tested several different scenarios, all in Google, and after my research I’ve come to the following conclusions.

Alt attributes seem to be picked up by Google, whether or not there was a link within that element. Some SEO experts have mentioned that if there is no link, then the alt attribute would not be indexed… from my research I’ve found this to be false.

Going further, I noticed in one testing scenario, if there was an image with an alt attribute and a link to a completely other site, that other site was also indexed by Google when searching for the text within the alt attribute. It was difficult for me to verify this multiple times but I definitely verified it in one testing scenario.

I also took this one step further and analyzed my results with what Google Images was displaying. I immediately noticed that Google sometimes takes the alt attribute text and provides this text as the description for the image in Google Images, something that is very valuable to know and understand when doing SEO for your website.

In all of my testing scenarios, the title attribute do not seem to be picked up by Google and adding a link to that element did not seem to affect this result at all. If you really think about it, this makes complete sense. Since you can place title attributes in almost every element of a website, it would be very easy for a user to affect the search engines by keyword stuffing throughout their web pages, something that Google and the other major players do not want, hence why title attributes do not help with SEO.

In my opinion, you should use the title attribute to help with your user’s experience and not with SEO. Since tool-tips provide more useful information to the user about images, links, fields and much more, you will help your users to understand what is happening around the web page.

So from my testing I’ve determined that a title attribute is meant to provide tool-tips to the user for user experience, whereas the alt attribute is helpful in terms of providing alternative information to the user when their browser cannot display an image or input element and helping to increase the SEO of a website. My recommendation is to pay close attention to when, where and how you are using your alt attributes. If they help with SEO, then you should pay close attention to what you are adding.

When adding images always be sure to add an alt attribute to the code of each image. If you do not have one, then just specify a blank one, such as alt=””. Also, be sure to add alternative text that is relevant to that image, the content on that page and be sure not to specify an alt attribute greater than 100 characters in length, as this may be perceived as spamming.

I hope you find my brief overview on the topic of, “Do Alt and Title Attributes Help with SEO?” to be beneficial for you and your business. I’m sure one could dive deep into this topic, spending weeks determining the differences between how Google, Yahoo! and the other major search engines handle title and alt attributes with regards to SEO for a website.

I welcome all comments and/or feedback.



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YouTube Buffering – How I Fixed YouTube Buffering Problem


I must confess that I am in love with YouTube. Ever since its launch, I spent a lot of time watching videos on YouTube. YouTube has been a source of information, education & entertainment. Something seems missing in my life if I stay away from it for a few days.

The most frustrating problem with YouTube occurs when there is buffering in videos causing them to lag. It mars the enjoyment of watching any video. It is a persistent and widespread problem. First I thought that it has no solution and I have to live with it. After some searching, I have found a handsome solution to avoid YouTube buffering problem. It worked for me and I am sure it would be useful for you.

Let me share my findings with you so that you can watch YouTube videos without slow buffering.

1. First of all you have to make sure that your are not downloading anything else at the time of watching YouTube video. If you are doing this, chances for buffering will increase many times.

2. It is recommended that you download and use some Video Accelerator tool. Fortunately, it is free and it will help you.

3. It is important that you test the speed of your internet connection. Multimedia and video streaming need high speed internet. You may need to talk to your ISP. In case your internet connection is fine consider optimizing internet settings through a system utilities software.

4. Most important of all optimize your entire PC. Clean Windows Registry, defrag Registry, optimize internet connection, clean system junk and optimize computer services. Performing these maintenance tasks on your PC will boost up browser and PC’s performance and you will experience less or no lagging in YouTube.

5. Install YouTube Auto-Buffer plug-in for Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox. An Auto-Buffer plug-in is a script that buffers YouTube videos without automatically playing. It also removes in-video advertisements, puts the video in High Definition (HD) mode as the case maybe. Google it for more information.

6. Make sure Windows Update is not carried out simultaneously. As default, Windows updates are enabled. Your computer searches new updates online, downloads and installs them automatically. This process uses higher bandwidth and the internet speed is dramatically reduced till update process is finished. Click the upward arrow located on the Notification Area of your Taskbar, and make sure there is no Windows Update icon with message “Downloading and installing updates… “



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Mobile Application Development Platforms (MADP) Classification


With the phenomenal growth of mobile app adoption, enterprises are faced with challenges to develop and maintain the apps that work on all these diverse platforms and devices to reach wider audience. Developers also face the challenge of maintaining consistent look-and-feel across device/OS.

Mobile Application Development Platform (MADP), as the name suggests, provides development tools and frameworks for building Business-to-Employee (B2E) and Business-to-Consumer (B2C) mobile applications. In addition to providing the tools, these platforms also provide middleware servers to connect and synchronize the data with the back end systems, eliminates the duplicate work by allowing business logic to be written and maintained in one place. You can build tighter integration with device features by using these MADP tools.

Following are the primary characteristics that any MADP tools should possess:

  • Integrated Development Environment (IDE): providing Visual Editors/Plugins, Form Builders, Property Builders, Debuggers and Source Control Integration.
  • Mobile App Development and Debugging: Explicit support for platform devices/emulators, platform specific code generations etc.
  • Multi-Device O/S support and integration: Multi-device platform support with Device Specific Code Optimization, Device Specific Runtime, Device Specific Feature integration and Tighter integration with device.
  • Packaging and Provisioning Mobile Apps: Supporting Native and Hybrid deployments, Single Build Process for all platforms, Inbuilt Application signing, Provisioning Flexibility of Single App – Single Platform, Single App – Multiple Platforms.
  • Middleware Server: Application server that hosts the back end service integration components managing the device registrations, security and transaction management. Also takes care of Mobile Resource Management based on User, Device & Network context.
  • Enterprise Application Integration: Adapters for integration with ERP/CRM and other Backend systems. Support for Data Mappers, Prebuilt Data Transformers, Data Chunking and Server Side Cache.
  • Security and Remote Management: Support for Device data encryption, disabling auto complete features, OTA based Application Management &Updates Device Capability Management (power consumption, networking).

On a broad level these MADP tools based on their development framework & packaging style can be classified into two categories

  • Native build tools and
  • Hybrid build tools

Native Build tools: This is a standard and traditional approach being following by the tool vendors who are in mobile market for long time. Products built on this approach provide sophisticated IDE tools to build application using their propriety frameworks. In this approach it is the responsibility of the tool to make the mobile application device agnostic.

Once the developer builds the mobile project in the tool and specifies the targeted platforms, it automatically creates the optimized native package for the respective platform. Platform/Device specific runtime not only takes care of UI screen optimization but also handles the memory, power &bandwidth management. These IDEs also come with platform specific property sheets for configuring features that are unique to specific platform.

Provides strong middleware features such as offline data synchronization, on device security, back end system integration, transaction management, serving the data based on user context etc.

This approach has its own share of Pros and Cons.

Pros:

  • Provides sophisticated WYSIWYG editors, using drag and drop editor, script & expression builders and property sheet features
  • Guarantees platform and device diversity
  • Good Performance, generates optimized native based on the target platform and device
  • Time to market is very less, using write once and deploy on multiple platforms

Cons:

  • Architecture is built using proprietary framework
  • Vendor lock-in
  • Requires learning a new skillset such as a new scripting language, a new IDE, etc.
  • Cost of ownership is high, license is Device/Session based and in very few cases it is CPU based

Top MDAP products that fall under this category are KonyOne, Antenna AMPchroma, Syclo etc.,

Hybrid Build tools: As the name suggests mobile apps built using these tools depend on HTML5 hybrid frameworks for building device agnostic applications. Products in this category, primarily concentrate more on providing the middleware server features that act as a gateway between the mobiles apps and backend enterprise systems. Most of these tools use REST Web services for integration with backend systems.

For building device agonistic UI, these tools depend on frameworks such as JQuery Mobile, Sencha Touch, Dojo Mobile etc. Using these UI frameworks, developer has to fine tune the HTML5 & CSS in the app to render the UI specific to the platform/device. For accessing the device features such as gallery, contacts, accelerometer, camera, GPS etc. these tools depend on hybrid frameworks such as PhoneGap/Cordova.

This approach has its own share of Pros and Cons.

Pros:

  • Follows Open Standards, Architecture is built on top of open standards
  • Framework flexibility, allows developers to choose the type of UI framework tool they want to use
  • Skillset reuse, leverages existing investment done in web development skills
  • Vendor Lock-in is limited to security and synchronization features
  • Cost of Ownership is less, Licensing is liberal with the availability of open source tools

Cons:

  • Does not guarantee device diversity, developer have to depend on UI frameworks to build cross platform UI and fine tune it to specific platform/device
  • User Experience Performance lags behind the native approach, hybrid code are not generally optimized to the specific platform on which app is running
  • Time to market is more, developers need to write/tweak the code for each platform and screen resolutions

Top MDAP products that fall under this category are IBM Worklight, Convertigo, SUP, OpenMEAP etc.,

Existing middleware vendors have slowly started looking into this approach. With their current power of providing robust middleware, security and EAI features they can easily build & add Hybrid Build MADP tool into their portfolio.

Conclusion

No doubt, Native Build tools with their strong feature set have always stood on top during any MADP evaluations, but they are unable to make fast inroads into organizations due to their inflexible licensing models and high license cost. Vendor lock-in is another bottle neck that is influencing CIOs to have second thought before going ahead with Native Build MADP tools. Due to lack of standards specification (eg., JEE, JDO) in MADP space, vendors have no choice but to build tools using propriety standards. This is a high time for tool vendors to come together to define standards in this space.

On the other hand Hybrid Build tools though having inferior features than its counterpart are making inroads into the organizations due their open standard implementation that revolves around HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript standards. Due to their flexible licensing models and open standards, CIOs are unable to resist themselves from looking forward to buy these tools. The other main advantage of using Hybrid Build tool for CIOs is, now they can reuse their existing web development teams (with JavaScript, HTML, CSS skillset) to build mobile apps.



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How to Create a Google Form


If you need a form on your web site, or to use internally at your business, Google Forms may be just the answer. A Google Form is easy to create and the results feed into a spreadsheet so you can do pretty much anything you want with them.

Here is how to create a Google Form. You will need a Google account to do this, so if you don’t already have one, go to docs.Google.com and sign up.

Step 1: Log in to docs.google.com.

Step 2: Go to New, then Form (the left-most button on the top navigation bar).

Step 3:Type in a title for your form where it says “Untitled form”.

Step 4:Type in any text to describe your form in the next box.

Step 5:The next box you see is titled Name. This is a pre-created form box for typing in a person’s name. You can leave it alone or edit it by putting your mouse cursor over it and then clicking on the picture of the pencil. You can also delete it by clicking on the picture of the trash can. The other icon, the two boxes, allows you to create a copy of it. This is the same for any question you create.

Step 6:Create your first question. Type in a question title. This can be an actual question or just a word such as Name or Address.

Step 7: If you would like, you can include Help Text. This will give further instruction on what kind of information should be filled in. This is not usually necessary.

Step 8: With the drop down box called Type, you can choose which type of question to use. Your choices are:

  • Text: A one line text box that anything can be typed in to.
  • Paragraph Text: A multiple line text box that anything can be typed in to.
  • Multiple Choice: You set up different choices that can be chosen by clicking on a circle next to the choice. This allows only one selection.
  • Checkboxes: You set up different choices that can be selected by checking a box. This allows multiple selections.
  • Choose From a List: You set this up with different choices that will be presented in the form of a drop down box, and one of those choices can be selected (the Type drop down box is an example of this).
  • Scale: Set up a scale to choose from. Works good when are looking for people to rate something.

Step 9: Decide whether to make this a required question. If so, check the box to enable this. If you do, the form cannot be submitted unless this question is answered.

Step 10: Click done.

Simply repeat these steps until you have all of your questions filled out. If you would like to rearrange your questions, simply click and drag a question to its new position.

On the top right of the page, you will have several options of what to do with the form right away. You can send it via e-mail if you would like. Under the More Actions button you can get a code to embed the form in a web site. You can also edit the Summary, which is the note that shows up after the form is submitted. It is a good idea to edit this.

Once you have finished, go back to the main Google Docs page. Your new form will show up under All Items. When you open it, you will see a spreadsheet instead of a form. This is where the information from your form will be saved.

To view or edit your form, click on Form in the top navigation menu. You can also e-mail the form from here and get the embed code, or publish the form as its own web page.



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Alternatives to AJAX


The short answer is, “Yes, there are a number of alternatives to Ajax for building Rich Internet Applications (RIAs).” These include Flash, Flex, Java, SVG and Ruby on Rails, as well as a few other niche players.

Now for the details, which make up a somewhat longer answer.

Flash and Flex, fellows

Adobe’s Flash, originally created by Macromedia, has quickly become an RIA tool of choice. Initially installed as a plug-in, its Player application started shipping with Windows XP some ten years ago now. Flash delivers some of the best RIA experiences, as well as multimedia.

On the downside, there is a longer learning curve with Flash. There is also a nagging, potentially problematic security issue. The Flash Player writes files to your computer in a rather secretive way, and there is no way to change the settings without using a “Settings Manager” located at Adobe’s Web site. Finally, Flash takes over your camera and microphone.

Flash brings a totally different perspective to building rich clients, but Adobe didn’t put all its eggs in that basket. The company also introduced a set of tools known collectively as Flex that provides data integration within a framework using integrated development tools. Taking care of the “XMLHttpRequest,” Flex offers easy integration with REST, SOAP or classic HTTP services. Flash is more of a straight-up alternative to Ajax, while some would characterize Flex as something like an “Ajax toolkit.”

Java’s still smokin’

Sun Microsystems’ Java is an Ajax alternative that has been around the block a few times, and its “applets” constituted among the first rich client tools for browsers. Java applets allow developers to use an honest-to-goodness, object-oriented programming language, while Java code runs in the JVM virtual machine with a “sandbox” for memory. Because of JVM, Java code runs on all platforms, living up to its slogan, “Write once, run anywhere.”

Applets can access only the memory allotted for its sandbox, which is an important security feature. Still, there are some problems with Java, the first of which is that it does require a plug-in that has to be manually installed for some browsers. JVM must be running for Applets to start up, and JVM may be slow to load at times. The applet has to be downloaded if it is not cached, which takes even more time, and this may be the most serious problem of all, since Web users typically expect ever higher, faster, better performance.

A mobile acronym?

SVG stands for Scalable Vector Graphics, a W3C language that uses XML to define 2D graphics and graphical applications. Its current version is 1.1, supported natively in the Opera browser (8+). Some Gecko-based browsers such as Firefox offer limited support, and although Konquerer, Internet Explorer and Safari browsers have plug-ins available for SVG, Microsoft’s IE has no commitment to it. The others do.

For PDAs (including PocketPC) and cellular phones there are, respectively, SVG Basic and Lite editions. The fact is that SVG will probably experience some adoption in the mobile category before it earns universal support among browsers. The lack of a commitment from Internet Explorer appears to be limiting the adoption of SVG.

Ruby, won’t you be mine?

Ruby on Rails is a somewhat more youthful technology, a free object-oriented language that has gotten a lot of press in the last few years. It is a “full stack framework” for developing database-driven Web apps following the Model View Controller (MVC) design method.

Ruby emphasizes development simplicity, reinforced with two near-famous and oft-repeated slogans. The first -“Don’t Repeat Yourself,” or DRY – is meant to eliminate wasteful duplication, of data or code. “Convention Over Configuration” instructs users to eschew configuration unless you have an “unconventional” situation.

Ajax support is innately, intrinsically available and simple to use in Ruby. You get instant functionality as soon as you install it. There are drawbacks, of course, especially if your firm has a well-entrenched system, stable development environment, solid platform and a ton of legacy code. It may not be practical to switch to Ruby – and she is still a youngster, after all.

Other candidates

XUL (XML User Interface Language, pronounced “zool”) was developed by Mozilla to build feature-rich apps that even run when they’re disconnected from the Web. As it offers a common set of customizable user interface components, and uses JavaScript, XML and DTD, it should be a fairly simple task for developers working with DHTML to learn it. One major drawback is that it needs a XUL-enabled Web browser, and that means Mozilla-based ones for now.

XAML (“zammel”) is eXtensible Application Markup Language, and coupled with Windows Presentation Foundation makes up the heart of Microsoft’s application development strategy. Microsoft is aiming for XAML and WPF to replace HTML, Flash and PDF, a tall order, indeed. XAML will deliver 2D and 3D imaging, video, animation, audio and so on, and is supposed to erase the line between Web and desktop applications. As an MS technology, it will certainly be used broadly, but it is not likely to make many waves in non-Windows environments.

Bottom line

If you are hoping to add Ajax functions to an existing site, that is a good place to start, but if you are planning the construction of a new site, and want to use Ajax from the gate, take another look at Ruby on Rails. However, your ultimate decision on the tools to use will depend entirely on what you’ve been doing, what you’ve been doing it with and how willing you are to add another tool to the toolkit. If Ajax is the tool you need, then use it. If an alternative works, use that. If you aren’t sure what’s best, use both until you find out.



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Server Side Programming Languages


PHP can run on both Unix and Windows servers, which makes it more accessible than its Windows counterpart, Active Server Pages (ASP). Most full-service web design firms will have at least one PHP guru.

PHP uses are widespread, and can include any kind of server functionality that takes user’s input and displays or manipulates the input. Some pertinent examples of such work are message boards, auction sites, shopping carts, and more. There are numerous free (open-source) scripts out there for PHP newbies to use. This synopsis is meant to serve only as a gateway to other works; although the main goal is to give a reader enough information so they can make educated decisions about what their web developer should do. For those looking to get into PHP, there are many free tutorials and primers out there: http://www.4webhelp.net/tutorials/php/basics.php is a pertinent example.

PHP generally uses the mySQL database system. MySQL is a server-side system that is included on many Unix, and some Windows servers.

On the other hand, Active Server Pages runs – for the most part – solely on Windows servers. This can cause some problems. Windows hosting or private servers generally cost more than Unix servers, making it less accessible than PHP. Like PHP, ASP can do just about anything. There are considerably fewer open-source scripts written in ASP, another testament to its inaccessibility. For those interested in ASP, here’s a great free tutorial: http://www.w3schools.com/asp/default.asp.

ASP can use many different database systems. Many users prefer Microsoft Access. Access, unlike MySQL, offers a what-you-see-is-what-you-get (WYSIWYG) editor as part of Microsoft’s Office suite. In fact, you may already have a copy of Microsoft Access on your computer and not even know it. Its uses aren’t limited to databasing, it’s also used as a basic spreadsheet application for those who need a more programmer-friendly environment than Excel. ASP can also work well with MSSQL or MySQL.

A third programming language with burgeoning popularity is Asynchronous Javascript and XML. AJAX, as it’s commonly referred to, creates interactive web programs just like its cousins ASP and PHP. AJAX uses XHTML and CSS, along with the Javascript Document-Object Model to create interactive pages designed for speed and overall usability. Although AJAX hasn’t gained the acclaim of PHP and ASP, its future is certainly bright. AJAX Basics – [http://dhtmlnirvana.com/ajax/ajax_tutorial/]

It’s difficult to say which of the three programming languages, or the numerous others for that matter, is the best. There will always be disputes, and no standard is set. With the varying interpretations of what a programming language should be, predilections to PHP or ASP arise. PHP is certainly more widely used, but isn’t necessarily the best. When a site is being created to be interactive, a professional can give an educated opinion on which technology should be used



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What Is a HTML Wrapper?


I have content that needs to be embedded in a HTML wrapper. What is that? How can I possibly do this? An HTML wrapper merely refers to a very basic empty HTML page. You would typically enter your embedded content within the body of a HTML wrapper then publish your page to see the embedded content in a typical HTML format.

It’s easier to manipulate and modify an HTML page using an HTML editor such as Dreamweaver or Kompozer, but you can also create the HTML wrapper for your content using a simple text editor.

1. Open a text editor such as notepad.

2. Paste the following into the text editor minus the [ ] symbols.

[html]

[head]

What Is a HTML Wrapper?

[/title]

[/head]

[body]

[/body]

This is very basic. You’ll want to add a title between the What Is a HTML Wrapper? and [/title] tags. You most likely will want to add a metatag in between the [head] and [/head] and tags as well. (Go to http://www.w3schools.com/tags/tag_meta.asp for more information on metatags).

Your content will be pasted in between the [body] and [/body] tags. This will allow your content to be displayed on the webpage. If you want to center the embedded content add a [center] tag just before the embedded content. The centering will still work without the closing tag, but it is a good practice to include it anyway.

For example:

<center>content that is centered. </center>

Once you are through you will want to save your text editor file as a HTML file. If it is to be the main page of your site naming it index HTML is standard. This is a very basic example and there are other ways to go about this.

The basic HTML wrapper is cross platform compatible and easy for even beginning HTML scriptors to master.



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The 3 Most Important Web Languages to Learn


I have often been asked which web languages someone with no prior experience in coding, scripting, or programming should learn, and in what order. So I’ll start by giving the three most important web languages in use today, and then go on and introduce other languages that would be helpful to know once you have the basics down.

1. (X)HTML. HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) is the primary markup language of the web, and is used to build and structure web pages. Everything you see that is not styling or animation is primarily built using HTML. I’m referring here specifically to text, tables, and forms.

There are several forms HTML can commonly take: HTML 4.01 Strict or Transitional, XHTML 1.0 Strict or Transitional, and HTML 5. XHTML (Extensible Hypertext Markup Language) is really just the union of HTML and XML, and is very similar in its markup to HTML, but is designed with XML’s extensibility (and strictness) in mind. As a small example, while an HTML 4.01 image or break tag would not need a trailing slash, an XHTML image or break tag would need a space and trailing slash before the tag is closed. This is because in XHTML, every tag that is opened must be closed, even if it is an empty tag.

The difference between using Transitional or Strict for both HTML and XHTML depends largely on how well you write your code. If it is written using strict rules (and no legacy HTML from the olden days) and validates under this configuration, then it can be Strict, and will be more compliant and standardized. Otherwise, if it’s imperfect or contains some legacy HTML, it would be Transitional, so it can still be validated and the browser can know how to handle it.

At some point in the evolution of these web markup languages, there was a question of what form the future would take: XHTML 2.0 or HTML5. HTML5 was being developed by individuals from Apple, Opera, and Mozilla, while XHTML 2.0 was being developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). Somewhere along the way, HTML5 won out on being the next standard for the web. Today, HTML5 is not yet fully compliant (not until about 2014), but it is where the web is heading.

So with all these choices for HTML, what should you choose to learn first? I would suggest learning either (or both) HTML 4.01 or XHTML 1.0 first, and then go on to HTML5 if you want all the exciting new features it has. Be warned, however, that HTML5 is not fully compliant, and older browsers, especially Internet Explorer, don’t like it.

2. CSS. CSS (cascading style sheet) is a style sheet language that gives an HTML document good looks. It defines the presentation of a web page. When we refer to CSS, we’re referring to colors, background images, text fonts and sizes, and element positioning and size. Well-written web pages use HTML for structure and content only, and CSS for presentation. It allows different stylesheets to be used on the same web page for different reasons: accessibility (screenreaders), mobile devices, print media, and many other reasons. One web page can look very different depending on which stylesheet is used. Have a look at CSS Zen Garden to see this aspect of CSS in action; the HTML remains the same but the design changes depending on the stylesheet selected.

Like HTML, there are a couple of different forms (called levels) CSS can take: CSS2 (and 2.1) and CSS3. Both are very similar at the core, but CSS3 goes hand-in-hand with HTML5. Thus, though it has some great new features (like rounded corners, gradients, and shadows), some of these features are not fully compliant. Therefore, choosing what to learn in CSS is less about choosing a level and more about choosing rules and properties that are compliant to the browsers of your target audience, and Internet Explorer or older browsers are usually a large part of that audience.

3. And now we get to #3, where I must ask you why you want to learn these web languages. The third web language to learn depends on whether you want to build dynamic web pages and web applications (and become a web developer) or whether you want to design web sites (and become a web designer). Whichever path you choose, you’ll need HTML and CSS. If you wish to be a designer, and put web development on the back burner for now, I would suggest moving on to JavaScript/jQuery. But if you wish to develop dynamic sites, I would suggest going on to PHP and catching up with JavaScript/jQuery later; just know that if you go the PHP route, you will probably want to get around to JavaScript/JQuery at some point. So on to #3.

3a. JavaScript/jQuery. JavaScript is a client-side scripting language that allows animations and user interaction with the web page. Think gallery slideshows, form validation, annoying popups, tabs, tooltips, etc. You need HTML and CSS for all this, of course, but JavaScript gives it life.

JQuery, on the other hand, is not a language, but rather a JavaScript library. It’s simply a way to simplify client-side scripting. What would take JavaScript lines and lines of code, jQuery does in a few lines of code. Their motto, “Write Less, Do More”, is very true. Depending on how much you want to do or how thoroughly you want to understand JavaScript, you could easily learn just jQuery and forget all about JavaScript. There are also many tools and plugins for jQuery that simplifies the process even more, and makes learning a whole new language a less daunting experience.

3b. PHP/MySQL. When you get into PHP (PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor, originally stood for Personal Home Page), you’re no longer writing client-side code; you are now writing server-side code. PHP is a server-side scripting language that allows a user to no longer just interact with the web page, but now allows him or her to interact with the server. Coupled with MySQL, PHP allows communication with a database, where records can be created, stored, and retrieved. PHP is embedded in documents with a.php extension, but is used within HTML. So even though a file may have a.php extension, it could still work like an HTML page without PHP, or it could be used as an HTML page with embedded PHP.

Like HTML and CSS, there are different versions of PHP. Which version you choose to use depends mostly on which version the server supports. PHP5 is currently the best version, though some code that was allowed in older versions is not allowed in PHP4 or PHP5, though it’s just as well since most of these codes were security weaknesses.

There are also a couple of different ways of programming PHP: OOP (object-oriented programming) and procedural. OOP programming (introduced in PHP3 and improved in PHP4 and further changed in PHP5) borrows object-oriented methods used by other programming languages (like Java, Perl, and C++) and uses them in PHP, and helps to cut down on the amount of code used (by making code reusable). Procedural programming is mostly old-school since it is less efficient, but it may be a little easier for beginners to understand.

And what’s next? If you took the route of JavaScript/jQuery, the next language to learn would be PHP; and if you took the route of PHP, the next language to learn would be JavaScript/jQuery. After you have all of these languages under your belt, then it would be time to fuse JavaScript/jQuery and PHP with AJAX (Asynchonous JavaScript and XML). AJAX is not a language, but rather a set of technologies or methods that use JavaScript to interact with PHP, allowing a user to interact with a web server without using page reloads. AJAX is used in searching (such as when a list of suggestions appear when you’re typing), forms (again, suggestions, or checking with the server if a username is taken, or populating a dropdown list depending on previous user choices), and many other applications. It’s simply a really cool way to bring all of these languages together to create a dynamic, user-friendly application.

So those are my suggestions as to which web languages to learn when starting out, and in which order. It may seem like a lot, and for some people it may seem like too much, but I have found that learning a web language is just like learning a foreign language. Fluency comes with practice and usage, and the more languages you know, the easier it is to learn another one.



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