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Web Site Design & Development Terms And Jargons

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What The Heck Is That? - All The Jargons Explained

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Perl (also: PerlScript)

Perl is a programming language that excels at manipulation of text. As such, it is ideal for the development of dynamic web pages. This isn’t to say that web development is the only application of Perl - it is heavily used in automation of administrative tasks on Unix-based systems, for example.

Perl programs, or “scripts” as they are commonly known, can be installed either as CGI programs or as server-side scripts using the mod_perl plug-in for Apache Web server, in which case they are sometimes said to be written in “PerlScript”.


Personal Home Page (PHP) is a somewhat less flexible language than Perl, but is more specialized towards the creation of dynamic web pages. This focus means that you can do pretty much anything you can do with Perl using PHP.

Designed for use as a server-side scripting language (whereas Perl was not originally designed for use on the Web), this language bears similarities to other common languages (Perl, C/C++, Java, JavaScript) to make it easy for existing programmers to use.

Active Server Pages (ASP)

Active Server Pages (ASP) is a framework for running scripting languages like VisualBasic and JavaScript as server-side scripting languages. Developed by Microsoft, this is mainly supported by Windows Web server. As a solution for creating dynamic Web sites, ASP basically fills the same role as PHP, but with some degree of freedom in your choice of programming language. The trade-off is a loss of freedom in your choice of Web server software.

Cold Fusion

A Web server with its own built-in server-side scripting language in one product, Cold Fusion is designed to be easy for inexperienced users to set up and learn. Unlike some of the solutions that are free, Cold Fusion is a commercial product. It does come with a helpful authoring environment, but with PHP, ASP, and others becoming more and more easy to learn and use, Cold Fusion is losing popularity.

Server-Side Java (Servlets, JavaServer Pages, etc.)

We already mentioned Java in the client-side portion of this article as a language for creating “Applets” - small programs that run in web pages using a “Java Virtual Machine” embedded in the Web browser. Java, as a full-blown programming language, can run just about anywhere - including on the Web server computer.

If you’re an experienced programmer, server-side Java is an extremely powerful tool to add to your repertoire. Otherwise, you’ll probably want to steer clear in favor of a simpler solution like PHP or ASP.

Database Servers

A database is, in basic terms, a repository of information. Databases are not good at displaying information in an attractive format (such as a web page), but they’re really good at keeping track of large quantities of related information.

A database server is a program that lets another program retrieve information stored in a database. Just like Apache is Web server that serves web pages, programs such as MySQL and Oracle are database servers that serve databases.

A database-driven web site is a web site where all of the actual information is stored in a database, and the web pages are produced by server-side scripts that connect to a database server to fetch that information and plug it into the attractive web page design. Such sites can provide access to vast quantities of information with surprisingly little maintenance overhead, because if you make a change to the information stored in the database, all the web pages on your site that display that information are automatically updated as a result.


A free database server, this program runs on a computer to provide access to and manage one or more databases. Just as browsers use HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol) to request and download web pages, programmers can use SQL (Structured Query Language) to communicate with a MySQL server and request information stored in a database.

Which is Better?

So which is better, client-side or server-side?

While this is a natural question to ask, the fact of the matter is that neither is better than the other. Instead, they each have advantages and disadvantages, and it’s up to you to determine which is the best choice for any given application.

Client-side technologies such as JavaScript and DHTML tend to be very “nimble” in terms of their ability to affect what is displayed on the user’s screen. These technologies, running right inside the Web browser itself, have direct access to things like browser windows and web page elements, and can modify these in response to user actions such as mouse movements and clicks. The weakness that all client-side technologies share is their reliance on browser support, which rarely turns out to be the same on different browsers.

This limitation is completely surmounted by server-side technologies, which run entirely on the Web server, and thus only need to work properly on that one computer to produce identical results on every Web browser in the world. Server-side technologies, however, cannot do anything to modify a page once it has been sent to the Web browser for display. Server-side technologies also tend to be more complicated to set up, as they require you to make modifications to your Web server’s configuration.

For these reasons, most modern web pages are created using a combination of client- and server-side technologies. Server-side is used wherever reliability, cross-browser compatibility, and direct access to resources like databases are required. When a server-side technology isn’t “nimble” enough to produce the desired results, a little client-side technology can often be added to the mix to provide the right balance of power and responsiveness to user input.

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