Static v dynamic web sites

English

Overview

Note, I recently blogged about an unusual aspect of this topic, you can read the entry about long tailed keywords here.

At the user level, many people surf the web to get information, send and receive emails, shop, transact their banking and book travel. All these activities are presented in a way that is friendly and understandable. At the technical level, configuring web servers, implementing security, administrating and designing databases and web programming are complicated. It is the role of a web developer to shield a client from these technical issues, and to deliver the "user friendly" and effective web site that the client requires. Web sites are sent across the Internet as plain text data that contain "tags". These tags carry invisible messages to browsers (Internet Explorer, Firefox etc) describing how to present information. Actually, they are not totally invisible, you can see them if you "view source" in your browser. For example, enclosing text inside <b>lorem ipsum</b> tags causes the text to be displayed bold - lorem ipsum. There are many types of tags, some apply to layout and presentation, and others specify some things about the page itself. This plain text is called HTML, Hyper Text Markup Language.

Difference between Static and Dynamic

With static web sites, requests for pages are handled by a web server delivering the content of these HTML files, "as is". They are called static because they don't change very often. With dynamic web sites there is a difference, requests for pages are a bit more complicated. For each request, the page (the HTML) is constructed from information stored in files (such as images), information stored in databases (textual content) and programming logic (both server side such as PHP, Java, ASP etc and with "Web 2.0" more client side - Javascript). All really useful sites (Amazon, Trademe, online banking etc) are dynamic. It would be completely impossible for them to be anything else, as what they are providing is constantly changing and/or the content is dependent on what the site visitor actually asked for.

Which type of site do I need?

Static is good for a one-way flow of information, from your site to the visitors. This suits some situations perfectly. Dynamic will invite your site visitors to become involved and engaged. This generally leads to a stronger relationship with the visitor and there is more likelyhood of your visitor buying your product/service or becoming a member of your community. They are also easier for the webmaster to maintain, you can amend content from anywhere there is an internet connection, without special web authoring tools.

Confused?

We will help you choose the most appropriate type of web site. Contact us now for free no-obligation advice. While developing a web site, we encourage clients to take on tasks they feel comfortable with. The client's involvement is mutually agreed, dependent on their enthusiasm and ability. We are used to dealing with various levels of client over (or under) confidence! Obviously, the more a client is able to do reduces costs.