Four Concepts in Web 2.0 Design and PHP

Posted: Tuesday May 31st

PHP can be your key to web programming success. The acronym PHP is a programming term meaning “PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor.” This language is open source, meaning anyone in the world can use it. You can use PHP to write scripts and embed them into HTML code on the server side of dynamic web pages, or documents that change instead of remaining static.

For the person seeking to learn website development using Web 2.0 applications, the task is daunting. PHP offers a good starting point. A helpful book that walks the reader through the process of building a blog website with PHP is Practical Web 2.0 Applications with PHP by Quentin Zervaas (2008). This book explains high-level design and steps for downloading and using all of the software to design and build the site. The following article works from Zervaas’ introductory framework to explore Web 2.0 and PHP concepts.

Zervaas notes the challenge of pinning down a definition of Web 2.0 design, but he selects four common features – (1) standards-compliant HTML and CSS, (2) Ajax for a rich user interface, (3) sharing data with web feeds and services, and (4) using social networking applications.

What is high-level design?

This term refers to the cycle of developing software. The high-level design includes all of the relationships and roles between the software’s major components. Later, in the design phase, the developer will spell out the details of the software architecture (or design), including each individual component of the application.

What is standards-compliant HTML and CSS?

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has outlined the requirements for web software that is standards-compliant. You can find and review these standards at

What is Ajax?

Ajax stands for Asynchronous JavaScript and XML. This process is used for the design of dynamic web pages. Using Ajax, the web software can retrieve data from a server without synchronization, and the display and functionality of the web pages are not changed. Think of this process as the power to upgrade a website behind the scenes while the web page functions normally.

What is sharing data with web feeds and services?

This is a concept you already know if you have seen a blog with Google AdSense content. This third-party functionality (a web service) feeds advertisements continuously on a site or blog. Blog owners and users do not have to do anything for the service to post ads.

What are social networking applications?

These applications are websites like Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and blogs. The users can interact with each other in a rapidly changing Internet space. The web site provider offers many options for communication through interactive applications.

As you explore your options in designing a website with the principles of Web 2.0 design, consider the value of PHP. You should also learn how to build your site step-by-step while considering security and legality issues, especially if your site engages contributions from multiple users and includes information from third-party services.

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