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Web Design Fundamentals is a survey of Web design and development techniques and technologies, fundamental concepts, terms, and best practices involved in professional web design. Instructor James Williamson examines popular web development tools, server-side software solutions, content management solutions, and cloud-based software, providing a high-level overview of the world of Web publishing.
I want to take just a moment to talk briefly about scripting and programming. While not technically a part of web design, or at least the way that we've defined it, scripting and server-side programming are such an integral part of so many websites that they're practically unavoidable for most web designers. With that in mind, let's discuss web development and where it fits in the design process. Most of what we have discussed so far, the visual part of web design, is sometimes called front end development, since it deals primarily with how the user agent interprets and views your sites.
Consequently, creating the server-based applications and programming that drives dynamic sites is often referred to as backend development. This is primarily the terrain of people we like to call programmers or developers. Fantastic people, developers. They find joy in scripting hundreds and hundreds of lines of code, all to make sure that the shopping-cart works flawlessly or that the database updates properly each time a new blog entry is made. It takes all types. If that doesn't sound like a whole lot of fun to you, I suggest that you make good friends with the developer if you haven't already.
At some point, depending upon the type of sites that you create, your awesome design is going to need them to function properly. If, on the other hand, that sounds like a blast to you, you'll probably be one of the rare individuals who are just as comfortable programming applications as they are creating cool site designs. It's rare, but it does happen. Now whether you choose to tackle becoming a web developer or not, it's always helpful to understand some of the basic terminology and workflow involved with creating application-based sites. Often, you are going to hear terms like client-side scripting versus server-side scripting.
Data can be stored in anything from a text file to XML, to robust databases, and can be accessed and written through a number of methods. Server-side applications typically use a language called SQL to communicate with databases, while client-side applications often use XML to store and retrieve data. Now deciding to use a client-side or a server-side approach is often driven by the needs of the site. Client-side scripts are typically used to drive interfaces, build complex user interactions or manipulate data without making additional server requests.
Server-side applications usually handle robust tasks such as e-commerce, form processing and handling tasks such as logins and registrations. Often, developers will use a blended approach, combining client-side and server-side scripts to create the finished application. Now, whether you are interested in web design, web development or a mixture of both, you will find yourself spending at least some time in the development environment. If you plan on creating some really cool Ajax-driven interfaces, you'll need to do some client-side scripting.
If your client wants a shopping cart or an ongoing database of registered users, you'll need to work with a web developer or begin to develop those skills yourself. At any rate, you should realize that in today's multi-functional sites, web development is a key ingredient. Instead of being intimidated by, and shying away from those opportunities, learn as much as you can about the different approaches to creating dynamic content and begin to integrate them into your overall web design workflow.
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