Research Point: Web pages

‘You can distinguish a HTML from a PHP page by analysing the kinds of data being used, seeing whether a page is static or has options to update it live (for example by offering a log in option), or simply by looking at the URL address to see if there’s a .html or .php after the page name. Similarly, Flash pages can be spotted by the kinds of information they present and whether it’s animated or interactive. Scan through some of your regular web pages and try to work out what scripting language has been used to create them.’

I’m pretty familiar with web design, as I have slogged my way through 5 courses on the subject! Sometimes I find myself actually being paid to build them for people (hooray)

As well as the information above, you can also right click on a web page (if you are using a PC) and view the code. I’ve sometimes done this to better understand how a page has been built.

A good example of a website using php is this one – WordPress uses php because it allows for users to add information, as I’m doing right now!

Obviously Flash was a problem for a while, as it wasn’t compatible across the board, thanks to Steve Jobs. I have only built one website with a small amount of flash animation (the relevant part is a balloon floating up and bursting with a satisfying ‘Bang!’) I was so chuffed when I was able to get the audio to synch with the ‘pop’! I would be extremely rusty with it now.

You can view the balloon popping here (Providing you have a compatible browser)

An ordinary HTML page is obviously a standard static page. I found CSS complicated to begin with, but it comes with practise…though there are quirks that can drive you crazy. For example, when you specify how links should appear on a page, it has to be stated in a specific order, or it won’t work. At all.  And there are almost inevitably differences between browsers – which can be an utter pain to iron out. Oh and god forbid you should type a single piece of information wrongly – such as missing off a semi colon. Your CSS won’t work. Computers don’t do “Oh I knew what you meant to say….”

This is an example of a static page (I still work with this lady, she is a very experienced OT and provides Equine Therapy to amongst other clients, autistic children)

Its quite common to insert small scripts into HTML pages –  javascript to display images, or a bit of  php to detect what sort of device you are viewing on etc.

Your browser can read javascript – this is called client side scripting. Server side technology is more complex and belongs more to the territory of a developer rather than a designer.

I think I’ve bored myself now??



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