Development Techniques

Javascript vs. PHP – Which language should I use?

April 27 in Development Techniques by galin No Comments

JavaScript and PHP are both important coding languages for the web projects we put together. Most of the times it is pretty obvious which language you must use since one language is a server-side language (PHP) and the other an object oriented language (Javascript). But every now and then a scenario arises where you may use either language.

For example, take the video player design on some of the entertainment sites I make. Recently, I made an update to the player that sped up the load time (and took the stress off my server) significantly. This is because of a coding goal of minimizing the amount of PHP necessary for laying out a page.

Minimizing PHP is a good practice for multiple reasons. It takes stress off your server, and it speeds up the load time of your site. The server impact follows from the way PHP functions. PHP loads information from your server (hints ‘server-side language’). The less PHP code, the less work your server has to do. Less work for your server also speeds up the load time of your site following simple logic (everything must load from the server, so less is better).

With my video player example, originally, the player had been coded with an inefficient amount of PHP being used for laying out the HTML. Using Javascript instead to write the HTML after page actions, the load time of these sites sped up drastically.

When it comes to web development and coding, the attitude of ‘less is more’ is always important. Part of search algorithms for SEO purposes looks at the load time of your site now. It also costs more bandwidth to load more from your server. For web development, constantly thinking ‘less is more’ is very important for implenting PHP in a proper manner.

Contact us today for web expertise on your PHP and database driven websites!

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PHP vs. Javascript – What is the difference

April 13 in Development Techniques by galin No Comments

I code in three different web languages that all work together to accomplish about any task you need for your website. Well three is a stretch because only two involve traditional (difficult) programming. The two languages being PHP and Javascript.

PHP stands for “Hypertext Preprocessor”. It is a server-side scripting language. In simple terms, this means you use php to grab and display specific information from your server. This is great for sites that need to provide a lot of information.

For example, lets say you wanted to make a website that allowed users to view their order status depending on the login. This would be accomplished with PHP. After logging in, depending on what user it is, proper PHP coding would send a query to the database that would then output the specific users information based on what information is in the database.

Javascript is called an “object-oriented scripting language”. This language is used for on page actions (as opposed to page load actions which PHP accomplishes). This is great for making a specific page (after initial load) look dynamic.

An example of Javascript code would be when you hover over the menu at the top. The effect of a drop menu is done through Javascript.

So, Javascript and PHP go hand in hand. For successful web development it is important to feel comfortable with a server side language and an object oriented language so you can cover every angle you are presented with. In my opinion, these are the best two to use since there is a lot of information on Javascript and PHP on the web.

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SEO “The AOL Way” – Keep It Simple Stupid(s)

April 7 in Development Techniques by galin No Comments

Search Engine Optimization is a very hot web topic. I prefer a simple strategy in regards to SEO. I treat it like obeying laws that Google and other search engines make. Obey the laws and you will see a benefit. Not everyone sticks with this philosophy though. Some prefer a “laws were meant to be broken” mentality. An example of this is with “The AOL Way” that has been all over the tech news world as of late.

AOL’s news department recently laid out a blueprint for a plan on generating more web traffic through search engines. Here is a leak of the strategy called “The AOL Way”.

Sticking with the law comparison, Google actually differs from legal systems. Google is a lot less beauractric than the U.S. legal system we are used to. They can actually react quickly to changes. Exploiting loopholes can be very difficult since Google can easily realize a loophole and change their algorithms accordingly. “The AOL Way” is a blatant attempt at ignoring what Google wants in their top search results.

Recently Google made an algorithm change aimed at hurting “content farming” SEO practices in an attempt at improving search results. Here is a blog post I wrote about it. “The AOL Way” should of been hurt by this algorithm change. That is because a lot of the practices preached in that leaked article are of a content farming nature.

Essentially AOL thinks they can ignore Google’s long-term algorithm goal because they are smarter. Google works every day on their algorithm and a big mission of theirs is the quality of search results. But AOL, being like the arrogant child stealing from the local convient store, thinks they can break the rules. The amount of resources required to stay ahead of Google’s resources amazes me. It seems impossible. If I had these types of resources, I’d focus on a lot more productive of ideas and gone with a K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Stupid) philosophy in regards to SEO.

K.I.S. tells me this. Play by the rules. Listen to Google. They want quality, content driven, spamless, keyword intelligent sites. Or for you to pay for results. Not sites ran with a content-farming philosophy to get a search hit and in turn lose all their quality. Engadget, the popular AOL ran tech blog, is losing its staff. Let’s see if this trend follows.

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HTML Basics – How to link to a site through HTML

March 2 in Development Techniques by galin No Comments

Adding links through HTML is pretty straightforward. It is the simplest, useful HTML ‘coding’ out there.

To link specific text you use an anchor tag. These look like ‘<a>’, but also must include a couple specific parameters defined in it. To tell it what URL or web address to send the link to, you must define a parameter inside the ancor tag called ‘href’. For example, linking to this website would look like
‘<a href=””>’.

That is how you link something, but how do you make text appear? This is simple. To make text appear you must place what text you want after the anchor tag. After the text you must then include a ‘</a>’ in order to indicate the end of the link. For example, a full link to this website would look like
‘<a href=””>Great Web Solutions</a>’. This would display the words ‘Great Web Solutions’ and link to the address indicated in the ‘href’ parameter.

Here is a link to w3schools information about making anchor tags/links: W3Schools anchor tag information. Other useful parameters to define in the anchor tag are listed on that site. Below are the ones I find the most important.

    Important Anchor Tag Parameters

  • ‘target’ – This tells the link where to open. Defining this to ‘target=”blank”‘ tells the link to open in a new window. This keeps people on your site still if you are linking to another site.
  • ‘rel’ – This is useful for telling search engines not to leave your site while crawling. If you define it to ‘rel=”nofollow”‘, then it will tell the search engine crawling bots to not leave your site when finding a link. This is important for helping your page rank. At the same time, when getting people to link to your site, it is important to make sure they don’t define this attribute (when doing a link exchange).
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Easy Styling of CSS – Firefox’s Firebugger or Chrome’s Google Developer Tools

February 23 in Development Techniques by galin No Comments

People always assume I use Dreamweaver when they hear I do Web Development. I always say “sure” because I don’t want to confuse them. Honestly, I haven’t used licensed software to do web coding for a while. I can accomplish everything I need with a text editor and web browser. This is because of the developer tools built into web browsers.

My go to browser is Google Chrome because the tool is pre-installed on the browser. Also, I believe Google is good at making things useful (crossing my fingers Google bots see this and help my SEO as a consequence). To do styling of a page, I simply right-click on a page element and tell Google Chrome to inspect the element. You can also do this on Firefox with the extension Firebug installed as well.

Once you do this, you will notice that it opens up a sub-panel below the webpage you are on in your site browser. On the right you will see the section for styling. You can alter the styling and watch it change dynamically on the page. If you know nothing about CSS, try doing something basic like adding a style rule of “background-color: red;” to your element. You should see the elements background color turn red.

This was an important find on my way to becoming comfortable with developing. I suggest this as a method for laying out a page because it keeps you in a “coding frame of mind”, which doesn’t ever hurt with web development.

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