Web technology is based on the client/server model. The client computer runs a web browser to see the web page. The software sends the request by the internet to the software program, which acts as the web server, running on the server computer. This responds and the web page is sent back to the browser. The web server software which runs on the server computer has many helpers to perform the tasks, which are the server side technologies for advanced web design. The tasks performed by the client side server, are all client server technology for advanced web design.
If a file has server side script then, the script inside the HTML file is performed by the server before the file is returned to the browser as plain HTML It works in many ways:
1. A web page can be dynamically changed, edited or any content added to it.
2. It can respond to any question or any data that is submitted from the HTML forms.
3. It can access any data or database. This results obtained can be returned to the browser.
4. The webpage can be customized to make it more useful for each user.
5. The server side technology can provide security. This is necessary as the server code cannot be seen by a browser.
Some of the ‘server side scripting’ languages are:
1. ASP/ASP.NET (.asp/.aspx) – ASP or Active Server Pages was developed by Microsoft for making advanced web pages in a web application framework. It helps in building dynamic website, web applications and web services. The most common language is VB Script.
2. PHP(.php) – PHP:Hypertext Preprocessor is easy to learn. There are many readymade scripts available. It also helps in producing dynamic web pages and is a general purpose scripting language. It runs on the web server and has to be configured to process PHP code and create web content. It is free of charge. Most web servers and operating systems and platforms can display it.
3. JAVA via Java server pages (.jsp) – This is a very popular web server side technology. In this, the server tags are mixed with html. This is hard to learn and complicated. It has good programming techniques.
4. ColdFusion Markup Language (cfm.) – This is from Macromedia and this server is not free. However, you can install a free ‘developer edition’. This can be used for developing and testing your applications. It is easy to learn as it consists of xml/html like tags. It is best used for web applications that are not too complicated.
5. Perl (.pl) – It is also widely used. It is a powerful and advanced scripting language. This is mainly available in many cheap web hosting packages.
6. Python (.py) – It is also easy to learn, but is not as widely used as PHP, ASP or even Perl. The disadvantage with this scripting is that it does not have a standard web application framework.
Besides these you also have Lasso(.lasso), Ruby (.rb) and SMX (.smx). There are all these server side scripts to choose from.
The most widely used server side script on Unix/Linux platform is PHP. It is not only easy to learn, but also fast to program. The Java/JSP/Servelets is the preferred choice for all the bigger projects. An expert Windows programmer will use ASP. Each one right from ColdFusion, Perl and Python are good, each having their own unique specialty.
It would be best for a beginner to learn one server scripting language first. With the experience gained, he can then go on to learning the other ones, as it will be easier.