How to make an interactive website?
Stereotypical ideas about such a characteristic of an Internet resource as its interactivity are often reduced to various flash effects, but this is too limited to view such an essential factor in the convenience of an attractive site. The interactivity property refers to the site’s ability to form content based on the data received from the visitor and processed by the server. Thus, the number of interactive sites includes all projects, which include the following elements: forms for sending messages, comments, online orders, applications, surveys, registration, as well as visit counters, that is, the vast majority of Internet resources.
What is an interactive website?
An interactive site is a site that implements an interface with a program that runs on the server-side. A form on a web page accepts some data from the user, and the browser sends it to the webserver, which launches the required program. After the request has been processed, the program returns the result to the webserver, generates an HTML page on the fly, and sends it back to the browser.
The interactive components of the site include:
email subscription forms;
online chat with a manager;
blog comments, etc.
The presence of the possibility of communication between a potential client and the administration of the site, not mediated by telephone or mail, significantly increases its usability and attractiveness. It is not difficult to understand that a more convenient site allows you to place an order or send a message online, compared to one where only viewing information is available.
Online consulting functions, implemented on the most modern and best interactive sites, maintain a dialogue between the manager and the client in real-time, which is a significant step towards increasing sales. In carrying out work on the support of sites, they are given due attention.
The hidden attraction of visitors to participate in polls and contests allows you to find out the main preferences of the audience and adjust the direction of PR development for online stores.
How to build an interactive website?
The construction of websites with interactive functions is based on unique software elements - server scripts, which are responsible for processing the data received from the user and forming the corresponding web page. Therefore, only specialists who know server-side programming languages know how to make an interactive website.
Static sites with interactive web pages
You can embed Flash snippets or Flash movies (SWF files) in an HTML document. You can insert Flash forms similar to HTML forms into an HTML document. Flash provides interactivity through interactive vector animation for the Web. The Flash is created using the ActionScript scripting language.
To communicate between a user and a server, you can insert a web application called an HTML form into a web page. A form is a part of a web page where users can enter their information and submit it to the server hosting the web page by clicking a button. The requests are processed on the server, which generates the appropriate output. Form requests can be made by GET or POST methods.
Since scripts executed on the client-side increase the volume of web pages, their number and size on a page should be limited. It is advisable to create static sites with interactive web pages in the Macromedia (Adibe) editor of Dreamweaver.
Dynamic sites, web pages of which are generated or formed from data stored on a server in a database
Currently, various web applications are used to create dynamic sites. Multiple technologies are used to develop web applications that provide dynamic web pages. Dynamic sites can react to information entered by the user, i.e. can be interactive, so dynamic sites tend to be interactive, but not always.
There are two approaches to developing web applications:
based on compiled modules;
based on interpreted scripts.
Compiled modules are CGI-type modules that are translated into executable files and executed by the webserver. The first web applications for creating dynamic sites were standalone CGI modules (scripts written mainly in Perl) that ran on the server. CGI scripts are ordinary programs. The result of the module execution is a page in HTML format.
CGI (from the English Common Gateway Interface) is an interface standard used to connect an external program with a web server. A program that works on such an interface in conjunction with a web server is commonly called a gateway, although many prefer the names "script" (script) or "CGI program.”
An interpreted scenario approach
In this case, server scripts, the so-called scripting languages, are used to create the site. Scripting code, like HTML code, is interpreted code, so HTML and scripts can be combined. The most common server-side scripting languages are Perl, ASP, JSP, PHP, Cold Fusion, Ruby, Python.
The scripts interact with objects on the server and generate HTML output. The type of server script is determined by the file name extension (.php, .asp, .aspx, .jsp, .cfm). When a Web server receives a request for this type of page, it interprets any scripts it contains, resulting in an HTML web page generated and passed back to the browser.
The most popular technologies (development environment) for creating dynamic web pages are CGI, PHP, Ruby, ASP, ASP.NET, JSP, Cold Fusion, AJAX, Python, CSS, DB2 databases, MsSQL, Oracle, Access, etc. ...
Depending on the tasks to be solved, one or another server script language is chosen for creating a site. To develop small and medium-sized interactive sites, it is advisable to use the PHP scripting language. PHP's competitors are Ruby, Python, ASP, JSP, Cold Fusion, Perl technologies. The beauty of PHP is that it is free, open-source, and works on almost all platforms.
CMS based sites
To create (develop) and maintain dynamic sites, they use CMS (Content Management System) - a site management system called the site engine. Currently, popular management systems are Drupal, Joomla, WordPress, DotNetNuke (DNN), MODX, DataLife Engine, etc. Based on these CMS, you can create functional and easily manageable sites. To create narrow-profile sites, for example, online stores, such CMS as VamShop, OpenCart, etc., are used.
The engines for Drupal, Joomla, WordPress, DotNetNuke, and MODX are free. CMS site development tools provide separation of the content part (content) from the design (web page template), which allows you to change the content of web pages without affecting their structure and change the site template without affecting the scope of its pages.
Websites can be easily created from ready-made blocks using the online website builder. These constructors are hosted on sites (saitodrom, ucoz, Xmarks, etc.) and are one of the additional free services provided by service providers. As a rule, in this case, based on the second-level domain that belongs to the hosting of the service provider, you can assign only the third-level domain to the created site.
Flash technology is designed to create vector graphics applications. You can use Flash to make an entire movie page for the Web, but it breaks up the information into large files that take a long time to load. Currently, it is more appropriate to use Flash as design elements in HTML documents (for example, to create logos, flash menus, informers, and other animated graphic elements), as animated flash banners and flash input splash screens.
Flash is advisable to use where there is little text, but where sound or animation effects are required, i.e., flash provides vector animation files with a shortwith load time. The main disadvantages of this technology for creating full-fledged Flash sites are the enormous short with the weight of web pages and the high cost of website development.
In addition, sites built entirely on Flash are poorly indexed by search engines. Flash technologies are mainly used to create prestigious websites. Flash animations are created using Adobe Flash technology, making it possible to work with ActionScript and ActionScript 2-3.
In addition, experienced web designers with database knowledge should be involved in the design. Thus, the interactive site is the product of the complex efforts of a team of qualified specialists. You can find examples of really high-quality projects developed by the Sannacode portfolio on the websites.