Archive for October, 2013

postheadericon Language of the Future?

For today’s post, I pose an interesting question.  In the world of web design and development, there are a couple major computing languages.  Some are complimentary, and some are competition.  So, which holds the key to the future?  What language is leading the way of technology?  Let’s examine a few and try to figure it out.

HTML

The base of all website development, html, or HyperText Markup Language, is what makes the web look like the web.  Without it, there would be only text, text and more text.  Html gives us images and the original markup of style, colors, and fonts.  For something so old, one would consider it almost antiquated, but while other languages have come to assist, without the use of html, they would still have nothing to display.  For this reason alone, we must give a nod to the originator of modern web languages.  And who knows?  With the advent of HTML5, we may not have seen the last tricks of this old dog.

CSS

From the old styles of html, a new language dawned.  Css, or cascading style sheets, allows for a wider range of styles and designs.  From the original css, through the newest css3, we now have 3-dimensional artistry, dropdown menus that appear on hover, opacity, rounded corners, and shadows of all colors and shades.  This language has not only been the colors and styles of the new web design industry, much like the artist’s pallette, it has also been one of the driving engines of the new browsers.  In some ways, the advent and popularity of css, especially CSS3, has driven a huge change in the market of browsers.  While Internet Explorer was slow on the uptake of this language, other browsers like Firefox and Chrome were able to take a bite out of the market leading to a radical shift in market share.  With all these designs, we can only imagine what the next generation of CSS will bring?  A sneak peak at CSS4 has already shown some wild new technologies coming soon, so stay tuned!

Javascript

While CSS added color, javascript added movement.  Suddenly, objects could fly across the screen.  The website could interact the the user in a more user-friendly way allowing the websites to be more geared towards the customer.  When the jquery library came on line and made it even faster and easier to utilize javascript in meaningful ways, the doors to the future of interactive website development seemed wide open.  Indeed, there are tons of things that javascript can help enable us to do, including reloading parts of a page without reloading the whole page using AJAX, validating information on a form before it is submitted, storing cookies for later visits onto the website and more.

PHP and ASP.Net

While Javascript was seeking to improve the experience on the visitor’s side, these two languages were seeking to do the same on the server side of things.  Now, perhaps it is inappropriate to link these two together, as they are vastly different and in many ways compete with one another, however they both aim to do the same thing which is to let the server drive the bones of the website.  This includes linking back to a database, be it MySQL or the more powerful SQL Server, which enables e-commerce solutions to function the way they do.  Without a database to store the information about the individual products being offered, there would be no way to try and sell the items.  These languages have also driven the new cms craze.  PHP in particular has been a driving force behind a number of Content Management Systems, most notable WordPress, which has become the number 1 cms and blogging software.  The entire system, and all the themes for it, are written in a combination of PHP, CSS, HTML and Javascript.  To an extent, it might be said that CMS systems encompass the best of everything the web has to offer.

The Verdict?

While no one language can truly stand on its own, it is my opinion that the one language that truly shows not only what has been done, but what can be done is CSS.  While still relatively limited in what it can do, the new generations of this language are evolving to levels never before seen.  With new language definitions, CSS has started taking some of the animation from Javascript.  The new CSS4 promises potential command-line scripting, which may take some of the server functions from PHP and ASP.NET.  Plus, the new email functionality may finally put an end to the dominance of HTML in the one medium that had not yet transitioned to the newer possibilities.  Indeed, the next couple of years may eventually see CSS take on the rest of the languages and become the dominant force of future web development, but only time will tell.