Archive | October 2012

Cookies

Cookies are bits of code that are stored as files on a user’s computer by the server, to help remember information about the user. This technology is used to continuously deliver tailored pages to the user.

There are several types of cookies, and each type of cookie works differently.

Cookies, as we know them today, were written by Lou Montulli in 1994. Montulli was working for Netscape Communications, and based his cookie on the “magic cookie” which was already being used in computing. Montulli was granted a patent on his web communications cookie in 1998.

Cookies help create a good web browsing experience for users by personalization, and save the user time. Cookies know what the user usually browse for and can show related information. Cookies are also beneficial to businesses, and provide them with customer feedback.

The downside of cookies is the privacy concerns that they entail. Cookies store the personal information users put into websites, and monitor their online behavior. Marketers use this information to create targeted ads, and are by some considered an invasion of privacy.

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Session 3: Competitive Analysis

Agenda

  • Recap Workshop
  • Geek Speak: RSS [Daimon], Cookies [Fina], HTML5 [Linda]
  • Reading/Competitive Analysis Discussion

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HTML5: The next disruptive technology

Wikipedia defines HTML5 as a “markup language for structuring and presenting content for the World Wide Web.”

H= Hyper / T=Text / M=Markup/L=Language

HTML, created in 1990 and standardized in 1997, is the 5th iteration of  HTML and is still in development by the World Wide Web Consortium.  Its purpose is to improve the language with support for the latest multimedia while keeping it easily readable by humans and consistently understood by computers and devices.

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RSS

RSS is a simple technology for syndicating content around the web, to many users automatically. RSS stands for Rich Site Summary, although it’s more commonly expanded as Really Simple Syndication. It’s a way for websites to easily broadcast updates and for users to see all of the updates from multiple sites in one location, without having to visit each individually.

The actual RSS file is an XML document with a specific, standardized format. The document shows a list of content items from a website, or a section of a website, and is automatically updated with any newly-added content.

In order to see these updates, a web user needs an RSS reader. These can be stand-alone applications or web-based, and can incorporate different features, but the basic function is to save the RSS feeds a user designates, show all the content items listed in the RSS feed and then check those RSS feeds regularly for new content.

RSS is most often thought of as a way to aggregate text content such as blog posts. However, it also powers most Podcast directories. The iTunes podcast directory is essentially an RSS reader that checks a feed (Podcast) for new items (Podcast episodes).

PHP – Personal Home Page to Hypertext Preprocessor

PHP – The P in the LAMP stack
(Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP or Python/Perl) an open-source solution for web development.

What is PHP?
PHP is a server-based scripting language which can be embedded into an HTML document to interface with databases, manage form information and create dynamic web pages on the fly. It can be employed on many operating systems and platforms and can be used with over 25 database products including MySQL and Oracle.

Designed by Rasmus Lerdorf using a combination of Perl and CGI scripts to maintain his personal homepage in 1995, PHP initially stood for “Personal Home Page Tools” and enabled simple tasks such as logging visitor information and displaying the count of visitors on a web page. He used it to see how many people were viewing his resume.

Lerdorf gave the script away for free and its popularity encouraged him to continue development. Using C code rather than Perl, in 1997 Lerdorf released PHP-FI (Personal Home Page/Forms Interpreter) also known as PHP2 which included the ability to integrate web forms with databases. More than 50,000 developers were using PHP to improve their web pages when version PHP 3 was released in June 1998. It was renamed “Hypertext PreProcessor”. PHP 3 was built by a team of developers who rewrote the parsing engine.

By February 1999 there were 1,000,000 users making it one of the most popular scripting languages in the world. Since users intended to power far larger applications than what was originally intended, the developers had to rethink the way PHP operated. The result was PHP 4 which introduced the Zend scripting engine, object-oriented support, native-session handling support, encryption, ISAPI support, native COM/DCOM support, native Java support, a Perl Compatible library and hundreds of other features.

By May22, 2000 PHP4 was installed on 3.6 million domains. Today, PHP5 is currently in use by over 20 million users.

Why is PHP so popular? First, it’s open-source and free. There are no licensing restrictions to contend with. Second, it is constantly being improved through crown-sourcing which helps minimize bugs and improves security. Finally, the script language is intuitive and predictive making it easy to learn – especially if a developer is familiar with C.

Powerful, fast and free is hard to beat.

Workshop No 1

Sunday’s agenda is a page – child of “schedule.”