Explaining some basic website development terminology and how they work with one another.
I’ll cover the terms as well as a brief explanation of how websites evolved old static HTML/CSS to include dynamic PHP & MYSQL databases.
The evolution of STATIC websites (html, css) to DYNAMIC websites (php, mysql, css)
When the internet was first started, everything was pretty much static HTML. You would do everything in plain HTML…the content, the styling, everything. The data was written right there in the HTML code and loaded very quickly. You had 1 HTML file for every page. If you had 10 pages, that was 10 HTML files. The problem was that when you had many pages, and you wanted to change their styling…you would have to edit the code on all pages. As you can see, it gets very tedious very quickly.
This led to CSS which now meant all websites were a combination of HTML & CSS. All data was still stored on separate HTML files but instead of having to style every element and on every HTML page, you had one universal CSS to style the entire website (how convenient). And the top of every HTML would of course reference this main CSS file.
In came CMS. With a CMS, data was no longer stored in the HTML file but in a database (a MySQL database to be exact). Well, HTML doesn’t work with databases so we needed PHP for that. So now you have HTML & CSS, then PHP & MYSQL. Combined, you have today’s very powerful website SOFTWARE platform.
Today’s websites are now mostly with PHP & CSS files. Data is stored on a MYSQL database. When people go to your site, regardless of what page, it more or less points to the same PHP file which then calls the data from the MYSQL database. This is really cool since your website can now do much more complicated functions like looking up recent data and show different data based on the user, time of day, function required, etc.
Because the data is being generated on each request, we basically call it DYNAMIC content.
- STATIC content – is like ordering your food for takeout and it’s done when you arrive. Changes are either not possible or very hard/time-consuming to do.
- DYNAMIC content – is like ordering your food at the restaurant and you wait for them to make it and can even change your order as it’s being made.