'HTML' stands for 'Hypertext Markup Language', this is the basic code and conventions which form the basis of your web page, there are many Varieties that have grown up since the internet started and yet more in development now, HTML is the basic language of websites, all web spaces and hosting companies will support it, there is an organization that seeks to develop standards for the correct and consistent implementation of these codes and conventions, It is important that whichever type of HTML is used it conforms to these standards.

Remember that your web site will be viewed by people with different browsers eg: Internet explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Opera, Google chrome and Safari are perhaps the major players. If your code does not comply with the appropriate standards you pages may not display or work correctly across all of them.
For further reading take a look at


You can view the HTML or 'source code' for this site or any other directly in your browser, If your using Internet explorer click on 'view' located on the top menu, this expands to more options, click 'source' and a new page will open showing all the html that creates this page.

The simple way to build a web page is to place the HTML code directly onto a page much as you would a normal document, this is called a 'Static' page and will always end with .html or .htm, - 'prices.html' is a static web page.
The contents of that page will always be the same until you physically change it.

ASP and PHP pages are of a different nature, they may contain HTML but will also contain other types of code/language read by the server before the page is sent to your browser, usually these are instructions to add particular content to the page, so rather than the page existing as a fixed complete static thing, these types of pages are built by the server before being sent to your browser. These types of pages can be valuable tools being used in many types of web site application.

ASP stands for 'active server pages' and is a system/language developed by Microsoft, PHP stands for 'Hypertext Preprocessor' and is an open source system/language, as such it is perhaps a little more available but both are widespread and common. So 'prices.asp' is an active server page and would probably contain instructions to the server to (get prices from a database), the same would apply for 'prices.php'.
These types of pages are sometimes referred to producing 'Dynamic content'.
A simple use of this technique is to separate the header and footer of a web page into separate files which are then added to the page by the server before it is sent, this makes maintenance easier on multi page sites as changes in the common 'header' file will affect all the pages.

So to add to our list of web space criteria we may need to check that the web space supports ASP or PHP depending on if that becomes important to your web site. For the moment it is not important to make a choice between them, it largely depends on if you have a particular application you want to run on your web site since some will only run on one type of server, asp pages go with 'Windows servers' and php pages run better on Linux servers (php will also run on windows servers but Linux is the preferred server type).

What is javascript?

Javascript files end with .js, they are referred to as 'client side scripts'. While the asp and php above runs in the server, javascripts mainly run in the end users browser, it is another type of scripting language that contains instructions implemented by your browser, a simple example of its use would be to verify that all the fields in a form have been completed before it is sent to the server, this saves time and reduces the server workload and bandwidth required to send an incomplete form.
Add this site to your bookmarks is another common example and shows how javascript can interact with your browser.
Javascripts can be used to enhance many aspects of a sites appearance and functionality and make appearances in many popular web applications..

Common types of applications are dealt with in the next 2 sections
CMS- 'content management systems': what is it?/which type do I need?

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