Web development and free and open source software (FOSS) have gone hand in hand since the beginning of the web. Popular scripting languages and web development frameworks such as PHP, Rails and Python are all open source, and many of the most popular platforms built on top of them, like WordPress and Drupal, are too.
Open source has leveled the playing field by reducing the costs of creating software and web services, as well as nurturing innovation and sharing in the web development community.
The year was 2003. I was working on my first website out of college. It was a personal portfolio geared towards landing my first job in the industry. I was trying to build a site unlike anything prospective employers would have seen before.
The grungy homepage wasn’t built with tables as my college education had taught me. I needed to create layers to allow my random Polaroid photo to change beneath its frame, so I used a bizarre element called a
<div>. It was alien to me, but it worked.
Patience is a virtue, but for many, it is often a difficult concept to practice. That is especially true for web users visiting a website that takes a long time to load. Users are enamored with speedy websites, and when a site responds slowly, visitors lose their patience and are less likely to come back.
Improving the speed of your website is important not only to users, but to search engine rankings as well. Last April, Google announced that they are now including website speed in their search ranking algorithms.
With an ever-growing variety of browsing situations and platforms that must be supported, the concept of progressive enhancement has become a hot topic of conversation. Put simply, progressive enhancement is the technique of building websites with strong foundations so that it’s accessible to the wide range of browsing situations — from mobile devices and netbooks, to desktops and screen-readers.
Web page speed and performance is very important to the user experience. If your site is too slow, you’ll not only be losing visitors, but also potential customers. Search engines like Google factor a website’s speed into account in search rankings, so when optimizing your site’s speed, you should take everything into consideration. Every millisecond counts.
Here are just a few basic and general suggestions for improving a site’s performance.
PHP is probably the most popular web development language right now. At least 20 million domains use PHP and it’s the language used on major sites such as Wikipedia and Facebook as well as in some of the world’s biggest open source projects like WordPress and Drupal.
If you’re not familiar with the concept of POSH (plain old semantic HTML), the first thing to know is that producing semantic code that reflects content contextually (rather than stylistically) is a critical component of the web design process. While HTML has a whole bunch of awesome elements by which to convey meaning, a slew of purpose-built microformats (conventions) have been created to better represent the kind of content that exists on the page. This guide discusses popular microformats that can enhance the semantics and interoperability of your website.