Website technologies

the coding languages and tools we use to build your website

Red Fox New Media, an ally in your organisation’s digital marketing strategy

technologies
HTML and CSS

HTML was invented by Tim Berners-Lee (an Englishman and acknowledged inventor of the World Wide Web), at CERN in the early 90’s. It’s the language that formats a web page into what you see on your screen. These days it’s extensively assisted by another technology called CSSCascading Style Sheets: formatting code that defines numerous aspects of what you see on a web page which now replaces some of the HTML in structuring the page. CSS gives greater flexibility, reuse and also allows for a degree of separation between structure from formatting.

Server side code

This is code that is run on the server before the requested page is delivered to your browser over the Internet. It can retrieve information from a database, from user input as part of the page request or other resources both on the server and elsewhere (web servicesWeb services provide raw data that can be called by server side code and then incorporated into applications or websites. For example stock quotes, currency rates or weather forecasts.). There are many languages used for server side code, we mainly use PHP and ASP.

Client side code

This is code that is included as part of the page that is delivered to your browser. Your browser can interpret and use this code to add functionality to the web page without the need for a return-trip to the server. The coding language that is predominantly used for client side code is JavaScript. Please note that, confusingly, JavaScript has nothing to do the the coding language Java.

Responsive layout

The ability of a website to adapt it’s layout ‘on the fly’ to suit varying screen sizes. With more and more people using mobile devices for their on-line activity a responsive design is very important.

AJAX

Asynchronous Javascript And XML, a mouthful I know, is a combination of technologies that uses client side code (JavaScript) to contact the server in the background and retrieve further data using server side code which is then returned for display on the page using further JavaScript and some CSS. This is all done without the page itself reloading. Sounds like a lot of work but it makes for a much smoother and faster user experience when clients interact with your website.

Minification

Where appropriate the code is minifed to reduce its bandwidth overhead as much as possible. The results in a faster loading website as each page is smaller in terms of file size and hence transferred between the web server and the users computer in less time.

What goes on under the bonnet?

Feel free to ‘switch-off’ and ignore this page if you like. Though if geeking-out is your thing, read on.

How we build your website depends on what you want your site to do:

Keeping the budget low

If all you require is a few pages so that your clients can easily find information about your organisation then (in likely order of cost) a simple static site; either a commercial HTML templateA preconfigured site framework acquired commercially at reasonable cost. There's a vast range of these available and your own content and images will be added to make it distinctively yours. However, these are not sold on an exclusive basis so there is always the slim possibility that you may stumble across another website that looks hauntingly familiar., one that’s adaptedSome simple changes at minimal extra cost can make a commercial site framework more exclusive and, at the same time, aligned with your corporate colour scheme. or a complete, from the ground up, site design and build.

Lower initial cost might not be appropriate if you require regular changes to your website as these will mean new pages will need to be created by us and then navigation changed to reflect any additions or removals with these then being uploaded to the live server. This will cost more in the longer term than a mid-cost site with a Content Management System.

Medium budget

A CMS driven siteContent Management System: a password protected area of a website allowing you, or authorised employees, to make immediate changes to your website at a time that suits you, 24/7. relies on a database which populates the website with its content. We use WordPress which is well supported and has a huge range of additional plugin functionality.

There are many advantages to using a CMS as versatile as WordPress. However it does require more expensive hosting due to both disk space, the need for a database as well as occasional maintenance updates.

See the WordPress page for further details.

Made to measure and bespoke

A custom built website constructed from the ground up to your specification with database functionality and other dynamic aspects as required. This gives the ultimate in control being designed and coded exactly in accordance with your business needs. You website can be expanded/evolved in an organic manner rather than trying to find and ‘bolt on’ a plugin solution that might not be an ‘exact fit’ for the functionality that is being sought.

Due to the bespoke nature of such a website, with no initial foundations to speak of as a starting point, production costs are quite high and development times longer. However, you get exactly what you need in terms of design and functionality.

Essentially a website for the established business that needs to provide specific functionality to its clients and/or employees that can’t be found ‘off the shelf’.

Technologies was last modified: September 2nd, 2016 by Chas Wilder

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