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Server Side Scripting

Server Side Scripting, Web Design, and Online Marketing since 2008.

Back End Coding

No matter what type of business website is developed, the site would usually require server-side coding. In fact, the top websites around today are built and maintained through server-side code. Server-side scripting is the practice of coding server instructions for the server to follow. For example, when the end-user fills out a form, the data has to be processed by the server and then validated. A server is a special kind of computer with web pages, media related to the web pages, and data stored.

Servers are used to serve clients, the end-users computers on the same network via an HTTP, HTTPS, SFTP, or FTP request. A request is a signal a web browser sends to a server. Web developers create server-side scripting to make their web pages more interactive and dynamic.

Server-Side Scripting

 

What are Client-side languages?

Client-side languages like XHTML, HTML, and CSS can be used to build web pages. However, they cannot be used to create dynamic web applications that people can interact with. HTML is not a programming language since there is no way to implement decisional logic using HTML code. For example, HTML does not include syntax for constructing conditional statements, nor does it have expressions and variables.

HTML is considered a Mark-Up language that can only be used to place content on a webpage. Server-side scripting languages like PHP were basically created to fulfill what Mark-Up languages could not.

Server-side scripting vs. client-side

Back-end scripting differs from client-side scripting in that the server can read server-side files while the web browser on a client’s machine can read client-side documents like HTML. Another thing that differs server-side scripting from the client-side is online database accessibility, which is the ability for the server to interact with a database.

They also differ in an environment as well. The environment for server-side scripts usually is web servers, whereas a client-side’s environment would be a computer with a web browser installed on it.

Some examples of web browsers that the end-users can choose from are Internet Explorer, which is now renamed Microsoft Edge, Opera, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, and Apple’s Safari. The most popular web browser which end users use from the web browsers mentioned above is Google Chrome, Safari, and Mozilla Firefox in that order. Mozilla is the most popular among web developers.

History of server-side languages

Many of the scripting languages started as personal projects of the people who developed them like PHP and Python. The history of PHP dates back to 1994. It began as a personal project of Rasmus Lerdorf for maintaining his online web page, which he used as his resume. Originally, PHP stood Personal Home Page, but now it stands for PHP: Preprocessor Hypertext because of the relationship with HTML. When you execute PHP, it happens before any HTML is generated.

Some examples of server-side languages include PHP, C++, C#, Java, Ruby, ASP.NET, CFML, Python, and Erlang.

PHP is the most popular among web developers because it is open-source, cross-platform, has user-friendly syntax, and is really powerful because it has many tools. For example, it has a complete library of simple functions. In 2011, over 75% of websites utilized PHP. Also, PHP is easy to install and configure, and it can work with MySQL database using a query language like SQL.

Python

Python is another popular language because it is simple and easy to use. You don’t have to write as many lines of code as you would have needed to write if you had used another language, so you would able to get things deployed quickly.  It is a highly adaptable language which helps with maintaining projects of varied complication.

Python was created in 1989 by Guido van Rossum. It was a hobby project for him to work on during the week of Christmas.  It was named after the British comedy troupe Monty Python’s Flying Circus. Python was derived from the ABC language, and the Amoeba distributed the operating system. The creation of ABC was a project by the Dutch CWI research institute that Rossum worked for, which was terminated. ABC was originally designed to be a replacement for Visual BASIC. It was intended to be for beginners and was supposed to be very simple to learn.

Advantages & disadvantages of server-side scripting

There are disadvantages as well as advantages to server-side scripting. A disadvantage to server-side scripting is that the page postback, which is the time it takes for a request to the server for a particular page to be loaded on an end user’s computer, can sometimes be very slow. This is because it can cause processing overhead or excessive processing, decreasing the server’s overall performance.

Another disadvantage of server-side scripting is increased security risks such as XSS, which stands for cross-site scripting, and SQL injection.

Some advantages of server-side scripting, other than making web pages more interactive and dynamic, reduce the load on the end-users computers because it doesn’t require plugins or browser scripting technology. Website owners would create their own applications and use content management systems for site maintenance without having to touch the code. Also, generally, the load times are faster than client-side scripting.

Access to Web Pages

Server-side scripting web developers write code using a text editor or an IDE, which they then upload to the server, similar to how HTML documents are uploaded. They use an FTP (File Transfer Protocol) application to transfer the scripts to the server for uploading the scripts. The only difference is that for the end-users to see the results of that script, they have to use a Uniform Resource Locator (URL).

The end users would need to open up a web browser and type in the URL into the search bar of that web browser to have the server process the script. What would happen is that the browser would use the domain name to find the IP address, which tells the browser which server to form a connection with and sends a GET request to that server.

Examples of Web sites that use Server-Side languages

Some examples of sites that use these server-side languages are YouTube, Yahoo, Facebook, Google, Hulu, Twitter, The Washington Post, Wikipedia, WordPress, Verizon, ATT, and Highline. For YouTube, they use Python for many purposes, including viewing and offering videos, controlling the templates for their website, and accessing the canonical data.

Python is the official language used by Google, though not the only language that is used. Google uses it for running their internal systems and in their APIs. Highline uses PHP for most of their student resources, for example, registration, the academic calendar, and other resources relating to the students’ academic progress.

Server Side Scripting is widely used…

Many web developers use front-end and server-side scripting. People must use it because it helps end-users get the most out of using the web application or website with the most dynamic experience. Server-side technology has evolved very much over the past several years and will continue to evolve as time goes on and further. As technology continues to advance and be created, so will the scripting languages.

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