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e-commercee-businessWeb Development, ProgrammingStatic WebsitesDynamic WebsitesFlash MediaCorporate IdentityPrinting DesignGroupware Internet/Intranet Dynamic Websites

Dynamic websites are becoming progressively more popular due to their flexible and easy content management. The main difference between this type of websites and the standard HTML static websites is the database system running on the back end of each dynamic site.

Dynamic sites do not have preset content pages, but rather work with a number of templates, that are pulled out and populated with content in real time as the user navigates from one section of the website to another. All content for the website resides in the back end database and is only pulled out and displayed if someone is interested in viewing the respective section.

Because the content is stored in a database it is very easy to review and update. As a result dynamic websites are easier to maintain and the agency administrators can update the website themselves through special administrative interface forms. Knowledge of HTML is not a prerequisite in this case.

In contrast to a static website, a dynamic website is one whose content is regenerated every time a user visits or reloads the site.

There are a variety of languages available to make a dynamic website but in this course, we will focus on PHP. PHP stands for PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor. This confuses many people because the first word of the acronym is the acronym. This type of acronym is called a recursive acronym. The curious can visit Free On-Line Dictionary of Computing for more information on recursive acronyms.

An advantage of PHP (besides that it is available at no cost AND that it is Free Software so you have the Freedom to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve it) is that it offers cross-platform compatibility. In other words, it will not matter what platform (Microsoft Windows, Machintosh, or a version of Unix) your users are running, since there is no need for any additional software in order to see PHP's dynamic content. This is because the dynamic content is processed on the server side, and then sent as if it were static.

When you create a static web page, you simply write HTML code. Writing a dynamic page with PHP is similar, except you embed the PHP code inside of the HTML code. For this reason PHP is called an HTML-embedded scripting language. For example, consider the PHP code for the above time-telling page:

The Date & Time:

Note: Don't worry if you do not understand all of the details of the PHP code above. It is just an example to demonstrate how PHP is embedded in HTML. All you need to know for now is that PHP can retrieve the time and date and display it dynamically on a webpage.

To read more about the difference between Static and Dynamic websites - click here.

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