Archive for ajax

Three loose ideas

I’ve been thinking about what I want to do with this assignment, and I have come up with a few very vague ideas. I think whatever I do I am going to have to learn a new programming language by the looks of things, so it’s going to be either AJAX, Ruby or ActionScript 3.

Not so long ago I saw something in a Web Design special of Computer Arts about Microsoft’s Silverlight 2, specifically an item on Deep Zoom (an example can be seen from the link). I liked the idea of being able to create a portfolio that was more like a real-world exhibition and apparently, Silverlight is the way to do that. I am not sure I would want to create a portfolio site, but perhaps an exhibition would work well if I can find an artist who wants to show something off.

Ruby on Rails is a recent web development framework that essentially borrows bits and pieces from other programming languages in the hope of creating something simpler and easier to understand. The examples of work I have seen that use RoR have been quite clever, for example; allows users to create custom maps based predicably on Google Maps. People have posted various different kinds of maps including favourite drinking spots, locations of celebrities, etc.

The last thing I considered was creating an Adobe AIR application, but again I am unsure of what kind of app I would like to produce. I find the AIR apps really convenient and undemanding of system resources, so they effortlessly run in the background. One I use very frequently is Twhirl, a desktop Twitter client. Another advantage with this method of app creation is that the language is universal to Windows and Unix. 

A fair bit to think about! I think I will need to see how much learning will be involved in each of these languages. I already know a little ActionScript, but my experience is quite minimal.

Whats new in the industry?

This is some solid advice given by the website Webdesign.about (  The industry does move at a phenomenal rate, and while PHP is in at the moment, in a few months it may not be. Coding abilities thewebsite says you should know in order to gain a job are, HTML, CSS and Javascript. HTML and CSS are the founding backbone to the webdesign industry, and it really is not worth learning other coding languages until these are learnt. (Other codes still rely on these for the graphical design and layout of the websites.) Javascript on the other hand was an odd choice. However her validation is a good one: 

“I can’t tell you how often I’ve been asked to write a quick validation script or rollover image. Knowing enough JavaScript to whip these out has helped me to improve simple Web sites while we waited for the more complicated server behaviors to be built.”

 This next quote from the website is very important to understand, as the industry moves so quickly coding languages need to develop, and developers need to adapt.  

 “Don’t focus on any one programming language. Chances are, by the time you finish school, that language will be “out” and something completely different will be “in”. Companies follow fads just as much as any other industry, and Web programmers need to be aware of what’s hot and not. You’re better off learning how to learn programming languages and then scanning the jobs 6 months or so before you are going to start working to find out what language you should focus on to get hired. Some good bets right now are: ASP, JSP, and Ruby. PHP is popular with smaller companies, but has a lot of security issues. “

 As mentioned, because PHP is open sources, it may have a lot of security issues, however, it is always being developed, and therefore in the future it will not. It is mentioned as one of the top coding languages to learn later in the extract, and with its evidence of its functionality and security in web sites like it is not really an issue I am worrying about. PHP is a strong plus point when looking at an individuals CV. 

When interviewing David Kelly (, dK web and new media and web developer and managing director of the companies listed above, he mentions that PHP was one of his top priorities to learn after learning the fundamental HTML, CSS and Javascript. His first experiment was with a Blogging website back in 2000, which was when blogging became a huge trend within the industry. Since then he has used the language for almost every delevopment (with the combination of CSS and HTML) however simple or complicated the website.  

When I went to ask him a few questions about a project I needed help with in the first year of university, he was instantly trying to make me learn PHP combined with HTML, as he believed it was simpler to develop website templates with the <?include> tag then with a HTML template. In this way, he mentions, the coding script is arranged in various folders and files and therefore is a lot harder to copy it from the Internet (with the view source command). He mentions that it is very difficult to decide what will come next in PHP as developers are constantly trying to create something new with the open sourcing. However he does mention, “right now Web2.0 and customisable websites are all the rage” and that websites like facebook and myspace and gripped the nation with our need for companionship. Again the problem being, how long will this trend last? 

( This article is really important in looking at web designs future as a whole. In a recent conference MASHUP (FEB 07) in London, they discussed,

 What’s next, Web3.0? – The coming semantic web”.

HCard and Hcalendar looking at a new bookmarking system for users for example  which allows users to ability to bookmark their teams games in the world cup in their own calendar application. It only works so far in third party browsers however soon it will be installed into firefox 3. Sidewinder allows web coding to be used in a normal desktop instead of browsers. A little bit odd and kind of irrelevant X-port (or X-forms) is my like XHTML 2.0 and is designed to be the next generation of HTML/ XHTML forms. 

Content Labels which will change the way in which search engines in the future will operate. Content Labels are much like Meta tags however differ in the sense that in order to get them verified it needs to be sent off to a company (for a small fee) in which they can judge if the tags are correct or not, therefore placing them higher or lower in search engine results. 

According to this blog (December 06) whats new in the web industry is the Snap Feature ( allowing websites (links) to be viewed as thumbnails therefore hopefully speeding up the time it takes to view sites. Works through the coding AJAX. Can be viewed on websites like wordpress to view small images of websites from just links.

Alternatively Searchmash ( owned by google, it searches the web however much like snap, it offers an image, blog, video and wikipedia results to the right of the screen. Due to Ajax there is no slowdown. It also makes it much easier to browse the search results when you need 

 “more information, simply click on more  information, simply click on “More web results” and new results appear at the bottom – enabling you to continue scrolling down on the same page, instead of opening a new page. SearchMash also allows you to give feedback about the results; this may be a sign of the introduction of power of masses into Google Search. “


What is Web3.0? LAMP, AJAX and Web2.0?

I should start by explaining what Web2.0 is first. Web2.0 is a term to describe websites that exist today the interactive content the Internet provide its users today. It is easily visiable through websites that cater virtual community features (Http://, Http:// etc…) or places in which the audience are the main content providers (much like the original idea behind the creation of the Internet) for example Wikipedia or Blogs. One of the main coding used in the Web2.0 phenomenal is PHP, to create the editable features. However along with PHP other codings were used to create editable feature; Mysql, Asp, Javascript.  PHP has therefore advanced to combine all of these to create the coding language LAMP and Ajax. LAMP is an abbreviation of the operating system LINUX, the web server APACHE, the database management system MySQL and PHP. Php runs alongside MySQL in most of the database needed interactive features. When looking at tutorials, in order to create a simple login section, MySQL was needed in order to maintain and manage the production.  After looking through the Php coding on the internet and on the blog I already attained, I have a basic understanding of how the coding functions; however when looking on the internet in order to create a login section for my DS task I have come to understand that an understanding of MySQL is required in order to make the project work; therefore I am now looking at both MySQL and PHP for my assignment 2 project.Lamp is very popular at the moment in the web design industry. Ajax is a lot quicker then just php, as javascript makes the editable features within webpages instant, (instead of having to refresh pages) therefore making editing websites, blogs, or virtual community content a lot quicker and easier. Ajax stands for Asynchronous JavaScript And XML. Mainly used with text, it is also able to edit images, sounds and videos. It was developed to increase the usability, speed, and interactivity of Web pages. Little is known about web3.0 yet, and there are many arguments over what it is. Nevertheless it is expected to be where the corporations will make money. Programs such as Second life; in which replicates real life, however in a virtual, Internet environment are thought to be on the forefront of the Web3.0 frontier.  Web3.0 is expected to enhance interactivity, the online experience and allow users to try anything online by combining elements of artificial intelligence, or 3D graphics.       


Guillaume Piot – Web Designer

Guillaume Piot is currently running a web design and development company based in Birmingham, trading as Clownfish Design. In this blog, Guillaume will write about web technologies and practices, which contributes to the learning process of the Web & New Media Degree at U.C.E.

Topics will range from PHP and AJAX developement, to search engine optimization and online marketing.