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Web Design Techniques and Programming Used

The base-language of most webpages, HTML allows text and pictures to be arranged and formatted on a webpage in a multitude of eye-pleasing combinations. HTML can control both CONTENT and FORMATTING. I design webpages using valid, standards-compliant up-to-date coding practices and validate my work against W3C standards. For example <a href="">Barefoot</a> is the HTML to create a link to this website.

What Does "Standards Compliant HTML" Mean to You? Simply, designing a website using "standards-compliant" code ensures that your website will have a uniform appearance and functionality regardless of your user's operating system or web browser. It will also ensure a site that functions well into the future.

Cascading Style Sheets allow the FORMATTING and visual appearance of webpages to be separated from the "semantic", logical organization of the content. CSS keeps code that defines visual appearance separate from code that defines your core content and its logical organization.

What Does "CSS" Mean to You? CSS provides a number of benefits for your website. First and foremost, it allows a cleanly-coded webpage that is favored by search engines. It also allows easier website-wide appearance revisions, particuarly on large websites. Content with a logical structure kept separate from visual formatting also lets your site function better for people using alternative access devices. Using CSS, you can even specify more appropriate appearance for alternate devices, such as mobile web browsers, which are growing in popularity.

PHP is a server-side scripting language that allows dynamic and changeable content to be presented to your website's visitors. PHP content is generated on your website's servers, before it reaches the web browser. PHP is most often used in combination with SQL (see below).

Why Should Your Website Use PHP? Not all websites need PHP. However, if your website needs to have content that is changeable and customized to individual user needs, PHP is a useful tool. PHP is also one simple way to make site-wide updates of a common page element (like a header or footer) quick and easy no matter how large your site may be.

SQL is a popular database language used for storing a vast variety of data. SQL databases make up the backbone of almost any site powered by dynamic data--from shopping sites to blogs and photo galleries. Using the MySQL database language along with PHP scripting allows the webpage to be tailored to the user's requests, from sorting products based on different criteria to collecting and storing user feedback.

Why Should Your Website Use SQL? Like PHP, SQL is not required for all websites. However, if your website has a considerable amount of data which needs to be frequently updated or organized according to users' needs, it is an excellent tool. With PHP, SQL can help build shopping carts, guestbooks, weblogs, photo galleries, user registration systems and much more.

Javascript is also a scripting language. However, it is "client-side," meaning the code is manipulated by the user's own web browser after they begin viewing the webpage. Javascript can be used for everything from validating submissions in a form to opening a new browser window or creating an image slideshow.

What Does Javascript Mean to You? I can use Javascript on your webpages to enhance your webpage visually (image slideshows and more), enhance the validity of data being submitted to you, increase the website's functionality (better menus, date and time displays, and even cookies to track user preferences.) The Drop-Down menus that show and hide when you move your mouse over a link on a webpage are usually created with Javascript and CSS.

Asynchronous Javascript and XML--Say what? AJAX is one of the newest programming tools available to web designers. It allows information to be dynamically updated on a webpage based on user input WITHOUT having to reload the entire webpage, as most previous technologies that responded to user input have done.

What Does AJAX Mean to You? Again, AJAX is not needed on every website. However, if you have a website that responds to user input, AJAX can allow your site to be faster and more responsive, hence leaving your visitor less-frustrated. One useful AJAX application I've seen provides contantly-updated suggested completions as users fill in a field in a form.

Software Used

I do most of my current web design in Macromedia's Dreamweaver web design program. I've also worked extensively with Microsoft's Front Page editor. Dreamweaver allows me to design pages visually with the ability to quickly view and edit the underlying programming code for complete control. Dreamweaver also provides me with a variety of tools for enhancing the webpages I design and quickly confirming that they will be compatible with all web browsers and operating systems.