Whether your business is small, medium, or large, you need a website. But not many care for how these websites are made, or using which programming languages.
You’d benefit by knowing at least the basics of the backend of your website. This information will let you tap your website’s full potential.
And in this article, we’ll share all the necessary information about popular programming languages used to develop a website.
David Heinemeier Hansson once said, “Once, I used to be naive enough, hoping that it would be sufficient for me to master only one language.”
It stands true for website development, as well. Website development and related technology are not stagnant. Progress is always underway. And that is why learning just one programming language is not enough. Developing a contemporary website demands knowledge about multiple programming languages. Some of the languages that are important for website building include –
However, it is important to note that this is not a comprehensive list of necessary skills for larger website building projects. In most cases, bigger website building projects have multiple certified developers on board. And they are experts in their specific field. Also, here we are focusing only on the technical side of things. And we are not taking into account designers, SEO specialists, marketers, and copywriters. However, their work also plays a vital role in the overall success of the website.
HTML (HyperText Markup Language) is the programming language with which developers create the carcass of a webpage. Browsers process this code. And display it on smartphone and PC screens in the form of a website understandable for users.
Sites can do without JS, PHP, SQL, and in some cases, even without CSS. But HTML is an integral and unavoidable part and the base of almost any webpage.
Although it’s worth noting that the web pages created using only HTML will hardly conform to contemporary website building standards. And they are likely to have poor aesthetics.
The first version of HTML language was created as early as the late 1980s. And it has come a long way since then. Today the most commonly used version is HTML5. And most of the changes in the latest version are related to the addition of new tags. Also, the outdated tags were removed from the language.
HTML code elements are made using marks, also called tags. The page content placed in different tags is processed by browsers differently. Most elements have a closing and opening tag. And the way browsers display the site depends on whether you use these tags properly or not.
With the help of HTML, you can manage not only the site structure but also its design. However, it’s not very convenient. Especially not when you have a multi-page site and are going to supplement it with new tabs and sections. For such a situation, there is a special programming language known as CSS. And we’ll be discussing it next.
CSS or Cascading Style Sheets are responsible for the visual presentation aspect of websites created using HTML. If HTML is in charge of the webpage’s structure, CSS is in control of its design.
With CSS, it becomes very convenient to set the font size and color of the elements and decide the distance between them. Indents from page bounds, block size, and location also are set using CSS.
The main advantage of using CSS is that it can bring a fundamental change in the layout approach. And it makes it easier for programmers to work. This also provides flexibility in web development.
Firstly, such technology simplifies site operation. This is because the styles created in CSS can be easily used for several pages at the same time. This means that it saves you from having to write the styles for every single page independently.
Secondly, it increases the website’s editing flexibility. If you make changes in CSS, the appearance of all the linked website pages will change subsequently.
And then, it simplifies the code and minimizes the need for repetition. This is something that you cannot avoid when using only HTML for visual presentation.
In addition to all that, CSS increases the available options for visual solutions for content presentation. It also ensures the creation of a responsive website version.
You also need to keep in mind that a file with a “.css” extension is a separate file. And if you want the defined parameters to operate in the HTML document, you need to knit them together. For this, there are special ways of connecting CSS files to HTML documents. They notify the browser of the fact that the page must undergo design change.
PHP is a recursive acronym standing for PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor. And it is one of the most popular general-purpose programming languages. It has been specially created for web development, and its script can be integrated directly into HTML code. PHP is also a server-based language.
All the existing programming languages are commonly divided into two types. Server-based or client-side.
From the names, you can easily understand the difference between the two languages.
The scripts written in client-side languages are processed on the network surfer’s device. In other words, the code is processed in the browser installed on your PC. Thus, depending on the web user’s preferences, the website code will be processed via Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox browser, or the Google Chrome processor. This approach’s main pro is that this significantly increases loading speed. It also reduces traffic and decreases the server load. As for the cons, the code, in such cases, is accessible to third-party users.
As mentioned earlier, PHP is classified as a server-based programming language. The scripts of server-based languages are processed, as the name suggests, on servers. And servers are powerful devices where millions of different sites, portals, and online stores are placed. After the code is completely processed on the server-side, the server sends the results of its work to browsers. And the browser then transforms it into a readable and user-friendly form. It means that the code operates irrespective of the browser in use since all calculations are performed on a remote server anyway.
One advantage of server-based languages like PHP is that third-party users are unlikely to see PHP site script through browser options like “View page source code.” It is because PHP scripts are processed on the server-side. And the browser only gets an already processed variant. In fact, without access to the base, you can only see an HTML code. Moreover, you can configure the server to process HTML files through PHP. With this, random users won’t know whether they get a common HTML-file or script processing result.
Another important thing is that the HTML code is always static. But if you use the PHP code, you can create a dynamic site that can operate differently depending on the situation. They can follow previously prescribed algorithms in accordance with specified conditions. Thus, with the help of PHP language, you can create more powerful and dynamic sites.
PHP also offers lots of tools for convenient user and site interaction. For example, via PHP, you can add the following functionalities to your site –
- Feedback form
- Possibility to leave comments
- New user registration
- Search on a site
- Administrative dashboard
Creating an online calculator, data processing, and validation system in feedback forms, a countdown timer, and a drop-down menu in your website’s heading are also possible using JavaScrip.
Besides, JS allows adding different animated effects and the effects of shifting, dissolution, increasing, or minimizing the objects.
SQL (Structured Query Language) is used to store a large amount of data, search for necessary information, data refreshing, data extraction from the base, its optimization, database maintenance, and data deletion. Most DBMS (Database Management Systems) use SQL language.
Some DBMS there also have their own names for the language. For example, Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL, PostgreSQL, Non Stop SQL, and SQLite. But there are also some DBMS that don’t have such abbreviations with their names. Oracle Database, DB/2, and Ingres are examples of such DBMS. There is also a term known as “NoSQL.” This collective term refers to all non-relational databases without SQL.
SQL language is a standard realized in all relational databases. But every DBMS has the extension of this standard and its own data work language. It’s usually called SQL dialect. But, of course, it is based on SQL only.
Here are some SQL language dialects:
- Transact-SQL (abbreviated as T-SQL), used in Microsoft SQL Server.
- PL/SQL (Procedural Language/Structured Query Language), used in Oracle Database.
- PL/pgSQL (Procedural Language/PostGres Structured Query Language), used in PostgreSQL.
A database management system is almost always used when working on serious projects. Everything is stored here, including the content, user logins and passwords, and different website settings. And thus, SQL is also of great importance in website building.
Websites might seem like monolithic structures. But they consist of many programming languages where every single one plays an indispensable role. This is particularly true for large corporate sites and online stores.
HTML language is the foundation of every site. Without it, everything else would make no sense since it is HTML that is behind everything that we see in our browsers.
CSS is a tool for appearance management and positioning different elements of a web page. And it allows flexible administration of the visual components and styles of our website.
PHP is necessary for the creation of powerful and dynamic sites that have a special logic of operation. PHP also offers unlimited possibilities for broadening the site’s functionality.
Finally, SQL allows us to manage the interaction between the site and the database. It aids in the processing and editing of large amounts of information together with PHP.
With that, we hope you now know the nuances of website building and related programming languages. This information will ensure you are guided in your selection of languages and specific experts for your website building endeavors.