Many of the websites we produce are dynamic. A lot of people don't know what this means - even the people we build them for - so I would like to give a simple definition and an explanation of when a dynamic site is needed and when it isn't.
Please note: this is a very simple explanation designed for people who are new to this concept. If you're after more, try wikipedia.
The word 'dynamic' in this context means 'characterised by continuous change, activity, or progress'. In the case of a website, to be dynamic means that content of the page has the potential to change every time the page is loaded.
For instance, a very simple dynamic site might show the time and date in the corner. This date stamp will automatically be updated every time a user loads the page so that it shows the correct date and time.
A website that is not 'dynamic' is considered 'static': every time it is loaded it will be the same.
One of the greatest advantages to a dynamic website is that it can be linked to a database. Each time a page is loaded it gets some or all of its content from this database. This means that if the database changes the website that displays the information will immediately show the new information. This is very useful for sites that show a shop inventory with prices etc.
A web programmer can use these scripting languages to perform simple programming tasks, information requests, database interactions or a host of other functions. The script then transforms the information it receives into html (the normal language of web pages) and passes that to the user's browser.
Not all servers understand the same scripting languages. For instance PHP is used mainly on Linux servers, whereas Windows servers are more likely to use Microsoft's ASP or Macromedia's ColdFusion.
So the first thing you will need is a server capable of processing a scripting language. Then you will need a web programmer or designer who understands the language of the server you have chosen.
Your web designer will usually know a good server they have worked with in the past, or may offer hosting themselves - as we do.
You should be aware that while php processing is often included with standard hosting packages on Linux servers, you may have to pay extra for Windows servers running one of the other technologies.
Not everyone needs a dynamic site.
You should consider it if you want something that will change content or if you want to be able to update the site yourself.
For example: using scripting technology the content of the pages can be drawn from a database. So if you are planning to regularly update a page or two on your site - maybe a news page or photo gallery - we can make those pages draw their content from a database. Then we create an 'admin' page where that database can be edited by you, the site owner. Presto: With no website editing skills whatsoever you can take control of the content of your site.
This is the same technology that a blogger uses to update their personal blog page, and indeed a customised installation of a blogging application like WordPress is often an easy way to set up a dynamic site.
I hope you found this article helpful. If you'd like more information, or if you'd like us to create a website for you, don't hesitate to call or email us. Use our contact page.