What Does "Website Programming" Really Mean?
It's not clear to laymen or even website designers what is meant by website (web) programming. All web pages contain some HTML "code" to generate them, but that's not really website programming. Some websites contain interactive elements like forums or chat windows. That involves programming, but not on the part of the website designer since those components are typically purchased, installed, and set up by the designer without having to do any programming. It's usually a matter of customizing scripts.
Website programming involves using a language such as PHP or ASP.NET to create custom elements on a website. A good example of website programming can be found in this rental property search program we did for a property management company in Mesa, Arizona.
How to Get the Best Bang for Your Buck
Whenever possible it's best to leverage existing technology for your website. Most of the features you see on websites (forums, chat windows, voting, surveys) are created using existing scripts or modules. It's better to pay $99 for a discussion forum than to pay a web programmer tens of thousands to create one from scratch. It's not only cheaper, but it's more reliable since thousands of other users have tested it.
If you have a custom requirement unique to your business, that's when you'll need a website programmer. Sometimes it means buying an existing component with source code (this costs extra) and modifying it to suit your needs. Other times it means starting from scratch. The best web programmers offer you several choices and cite the advantages and disadvantages of each. You can request a quote for your project using this form. Don't worry, there won't be any hard sales pitch. Just solid advice and a fair price.
What Languages Are Best?
The best website programmers can write code in any programming or scripting language because the language is nothing more than a tool. The choice of language depends on the project, but the most common language for website programming is PHP. It's reasonably fast and flexible, It's better suitled for smaller projects than it is for large projects with multiple and distinct features. However, in the right hands (like with Facebook), it can be used to create large projects.
Another platform is called DotNetNuke. It's based on Microsoft's ASP.NET technology. It has many advantages when it comes to creating dynamic websites. Anyone interested in creating a more dynamic website should read our article that answers the question what is DotNetNuke?.