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KhaasIT @ web design, development & hosting

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1. How do you define a website?
2. Tell about the history and the overview.
3. How many types of website are available – in terms of content management?
4. Brief about difference in static and dynamic websites?
5. Which are software system and languages used?
6. Brief about website design, content writing, development and hosting?
7. How KhaasIT can help you with website solutions?

A website is a collection of related web pages, images, videos or other digital assets that are addressed relative to a common Uniform Resource Locator (URL), often consisting of only the domain name, or the IP address, and the root path in an Internet Protocol-based network. A web site is hosted on at least one web server, accessible via a network such as the Internet or a private local area network.
A web page is a document, typically written in plain text interspersed with formatting instructions of Hypertext Markup Language (HTML, XHTML). A web page may incorporate elements from other websites with suitable markup anchors. Web pages are accessed and transported with the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP), which may optionally employ encryption (HTTP Secure, HTTPS) to provide security and privacy for the user of the web page content. The user’s application, often a web browser, renders the page content according to its HTML markup instructions onto a display terminal. All publicly accessible websites collectively constitute the World Wide Web. The pages of a website can usually be accessed from a simple Uniform Resource Locator (URL) called the homepage. The URLs of the pages organize them into a hierarchy, although hyperlinking between them conveys the reader’s perceived site structure and guides the reader’s navigation of the site.

Some websites require a subscription to access some or all of their content. Examples of subscription websites include many business sites, parts of news websites, academic journal websites, gaming websites, message boards, web-based e-mail, social networking websites, websites providing real-time stock market data, and websites providing many other services (websites offering storing or sharing of images and files). 

The World Wide Web (WWW) was created in 1989 by CERN physicist Tim Berners-Lee. On 30 April 1993, CERN announced that the World Wide Web would be free to use for anyone. Before the introduction of HTML and HTTP, other protocols such as file transfer protocol and the gopher protocol were used to retrieve individual files from a server. These protocols offer a simple directory structure which the user navigates and chooses files to download. Documents were most often presented as plain text files without formatting or were encoded in word processor formats.

Organized by function, a website may be
A personal website
A commercial website
A government website
A non-profit organization website

It could be the work of an individual, a business or other organization, and is typically dedicated to some particular topic or purpose. Any website can contain a hyperlink to any other website, so the distinction between individual sites, as perceived by the user, may sometimes be blurred.

Websites are written in, or dynamically converted to, HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language) and are accessed using a software interface classified as a user agent. Web pages can be viewed or otherwise accessed from a range of computer-based and Internet-enabled devices of various sizes, including desktop computers, laptops, PDAs and cell phones.

A website is hosted on a computer system known as a web server, also called an HTTP server, and these terms can also refer to the software that runs on these systems and that retrieves and delivers the web pages in response to requests from the website users. Apache is the most commonly used web server software (according to Net craft statistics) and Microsoft’s Internet Information Server (IIS) is also commonly used.

Static website
A static website is one that has web pages stored on the server in the format that is sent to a client web browser. It is primarily coded in Hypertext Markup Language (HTML).

Simple forms or marketing examples of websites, such as classic website, a five-page website or a brochure website are often static websites, because they present pre-defined, static information to the user. This may include information about a company and its products and services via text, photos, animations, audio/video and interactive menus and navigation.

This type of website usually displays the same information to all visitors. Similar to handing out a printed brochure to customers or clients, a static website will generally provide consistent, standard information for an extended period of time. Although the website owner may make updates periodically, it is a manual process to edit the text, photos and other content and may require basic website design skills and software.

In summary, visitors are not able to control what information they receive via a static website, and must instead settle for whatever content the website owner has decided to offer at that time.

They are edited using four broad categories of software:

Text editors, such as Notepad or TextEdit, where content and HTML markup are manipulated directly within the editor program

WYSIWYG offline editors, such as Microsoft FrontPage and Adobe Dreamweaver (previously Macromedia Dreamweaver), with which the site is edited using a GUI interface and the final HTML markup is generated automatically by the editor software

WYSIWYG online editors which create media rich online presentation like web pages, widgets, intro, blogs, and other documents
Template-based editors, such as Rapidweaver and iWeb, which allow users to quickly create and upload web pages to a web server without detailed HTML knowledge, as they pick a suitable template from a palette and add pictures and text to it in a desktop publishing fashion without direct manipulation of HTML code.

Dynamic website
A dynamic website is one that changes or customizes itself frequently and automatically, based on certain criteria. Dynamic websites can have two types of dynamic activity: Code and Content. Dynamic code is invisible or behind the scenes and dynamic content is visible or fully displayed.

Dynamic code
The first type is a web page with dynamic code. The code is constructed dynamically on the fly using active programming language instead of plain, static HTML.

A website with dynamic code refers to its construction or how it is built, and more specifically refers to the code used to create a single web page. A dynamic web page is generated on the fly by piecing together certain blocks of code, procedures or routines. A dynamically-generated web page would call various bits of information from a database and put them together in a pre-defined format to present the reader with a coherent page. It interacts with users in a variety of ways including by reading cookies recognizing users’ previous history, session variables, server side variables etc., or by using direct interaction (form elements, mouse overs, etc.). A site can display the current state of a dialogue between users, monitor a changing situation, or provide information in some way personalized to the requirements of the individual user.

Dynamic content
The second type is a website with dynamic content displayed in plain view. Variable content is displayed dynamically on the fly based on certain criteria, usually by retrieving content stored in a database.

A website with dynamic content refers to how its messages, text, images and other information are displayed on the web page, and more specifically how its content changes at any given moment. The web page content varies based on certain criteria, either pre-defined rules or variable user input. For example, a website with a database of news articles can use a pre-defined rule which tells it to display all news articles for today’s date. This type of dynamic website will automatically show the most current news articles on any given date. Another example of dynamic content is when a retail website with a database of media products allows a user to input a search request for the keyword Beatles. In response, the content of the web page will spontaneously change the way it looked before, and will then display a list of Beatles products like CD’s, DVD’s and books.

Purpose of dynamic websites
The main purpose of a dynamic website is automation. A dynamic website can operate more effectively, be built more efficiently and is easier to maintain, update and expand. It is much simpler to build a template and a database than to build hundreds or thousands of individual, static HTML web pages.

Software systems
There is a wide range of software systems, such as ANSI C servlets), Java Server Pages (JSP), the PHP and Perl programming languages, ASP.NET, Active Server Pages (ASP), YUMA and ColdFusion (CFML) that are available to generate dynamic web systems and dynamic sites. Sites may also include content that is retrieved from one or more databases or by usingXML-based technologies such as RSS.

Static content may also be dynamically generated either periodically, or if certain conditions for regeneration occur (cached) in order to avoid the performance loss of initiating the dynamic engine on a per-user or per-connection basis.

Plug ins are available to expand the features and abilities of web browsers, which use them to show active content, such as Microsoft Silverlight, Adobe Flash, Adobe Shockwave or applets written in Java. Dynamic HTML also provides for user interactivity and real time element updating within web pages (i.e., pages don’t have to be loaded or reloaded to effect any changes), mainly using the Document Object Model (DOM) and JavaScript, support which is built-in to most modern web browsers.

Turning a website into an income source is a common practice for web developers and website owners. There are several methods for creating a website business which fall into two broad categories, as defined below.

Content-based sites
Some websites derive revenue by selling advertising space on the site (see Contextual advertising).

Product- or service-based sites
Some websites derive revenue by offering products or services for sale. In the case of e-commerce websites, the products or services may be purchased at the website itself, by entering credit card or other payment information into a payment form on the site. While most business websites serve as a shop window for existing brick and mortar businesses, it is increasingly the case that some websites are businesses in their own right; that is, the products they offer are only available for purchase on the web.

Websites occasionally derive income from a combination of these two practices. For example, a website such as an online auctions website may charge the users of its auction service to list an auction, but also display third-party advertisements on the site, from which it derives further income.

Web design
Webdesign is the skill of creating presentations of content (usually hypertext or hypermedia) that is delivered to an end-user through the World Wide Web, by way of a Web browser or other Web-enabled software like Internet television clients, micro blogging clients and RSS readers.

The intent of Web design is to create a website – a collection of electronic documents and applications that reside on a Web server/servers and present content and interactive features / interfaces to the end user in form of Web pages once requested. Such elements as text, bit-mapped images (GIFs, JPEGs) and forms can be placed on the page using HTML/XHTML/XML tags. Displaying more complex media (vector graphics, animations, videos, sounds) requires plug-ins such as Adobe Flash, QuickTime, Java run-time environment, etc. Plug-ins are also embedded into web page by using HTML/XHTML tags.

Improvements in browsers’ compliance with W3C standards prompted a widespread acceptance and usage of XHTML/XML in conjunction with Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) to position and manipulate web page elements and objects. Latest standard sand proposals aim at leading to browsers’ ability to deliver a wide variety of content and accessibility options to the client possibly without employing plug-ins.

Web hosting service
A web hosting service is a type of Internet hosting service that allows individuals and organizations to make their own website accessible via the World Wide Web. Web hosts are companies that provide space on a server they own or lease for use by their clients as well as providing Internet connectivity, typically in a data center. Web hosts can also provide data center space and connectivity to the Internet for servers they do not own to be located in their data center, called colocation.

The scope of hosting services varies widely. The most basic is web page and small-scale file hosting, where files can be uploaded via File Transfer Protocol(FTP) or a Web interface. The files are usually delivered to the Web “as is” or with little processing. Many Internet service providers (ISPs) offer this service free to their subscribers. People can also obtain Web page hosting from other, alternative service providers. Personal web site hosting is typically free, advertisement-sponsored, or inexpensive. Business web site hosting often has a higher expense.

Single page hosting is generally sufficient only for personal web pages. A complex site calls for a more comprehensive package that provides ASP.NET). These facilities allow the customers to write or install scripts for applications like forums and content management. For e-commerce, SSL is also highly recommended.

The host may also provide an interface or control panel for managing the Web server and installing scripts as well as other services like e-mail. Some hosts specialize in certain software or services (e.g. e-commerce). They are commonly used by larger companies to outsource network infrastructure to a hosting company.

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