As consumer marketers we have contact with the web in many different ways and most of us are pretty savvy in working our way around the internet. However, when it comes to developing a new website, we need a different level of knowledge – or at least we have to talk a good game. Whether you have access to web designers and webmasters within your business or you have to scrounge for help wherever you can get it, here is some knowledge that I found useful in my quest to talk-the-talk.
When looking for a website development firm or professional, many will list programs or software that they are proficient in. Here is a little primer (not comprehensive) to help you sift through what is important for your project:
Used for websites where the same information is presented to all users and all updating is done manually to the website programming. Although these programs are not considered automated, they can included flash animation and multimedia effects. Most websites fall into this category.
HTML: This coding language is the foundation for almost all web pages and website professionals will be proficient in this language. XHTML is the newest version of HTML.
CSS (Cascading Style Sheets): This language is designed to work with HTML to have greater control over the format such as font, color size and spacing. Without CSS, using HTML only would produce a very basic looking site.
These are common software programs used by website professionals that incorporate the basic coding programs above.
Dreamweaver: 80% of website professionals used Adobe Dreamweaver for at least part of their work.
Expression Web: Microsoft software (replaced FrontPage) that caters to both amateur and professional web designers. It is easier to use and does not incorporate as many of the coding languages as Dreamweaver.
Used for websites where the website adjusts for each user’s needs. These websites typically interact with databases located in a server and need to run from a server. The content or format can change based on user profile or online selections. These websites typically have quicker page loading and are easily updated for those who do frequent text or image changes. Dynamic websites are used for image galleries, online calendars and e-commerce. Here are some common languages used for Dynamic Websites. Selection of language is sometimes dictated by database programs used.
PHP: Used for developing database integrated websites and often used with MySQL databases, but can be used with most database systems.
ASP & ASPnet (Active Server Pages): A Microsoft technology that must be used with Microsoft Web servers. Can be used with database systems like Oracle, SQL Server and MS Access.
JSP (Java Server Pages): Based on the Java programming language that can be used on Windows, Unix, Linux and most major database programs. This is a powerful programming language that typically executes faster than other languages but requires a more experienced programmer to operate.
ColdFusion: ColdFusion is a commercially purchased technology (the other technologies are free) that requires less programming experience to create database integrated web pages.
Photoshop: Adobe Photoshop is an industry wide tool for image development, photo manipulation and web graphics.
Fireworks: Adobe Fireworks is a less expensive alternative to Photoshop used for web graphics only.
Paint Pro Shop: Another alternative to Photoshop made by Jasc.
Illustrator: Adobe Illustrator is used to create graphics that need to be used in a variety of locations and sizes, such as logos.
Flash: Adobe Flash is used to create multimedia content for web pages.
Swish: Swish is another software used to create multimedia content, but not as sophisticated as Flash.