Building a Website

By Jeff Cogswell  |  Posted 2010-04-06 Print this article Print


Building a Website

In addition, there are other controls, including navigation controls, to help you build a Website consisting of multiple pages, and dialogs that encompass Web forms for data entry. In a matter of minutes, you can have a full-featured Web application running using no programming at all.

From a software-design standpoint, the process is simple: After designing your database and its tables, you create your Web components individually-such as your grids and your navigation controls-and save them separately. Each component can be tested and previewed in an internal browser that is based on Internet Explorer. (But the final product can run on any of the major browsers, including Firefox and Chrome.)

Next, you create the Web pages, adding your controls to them. Once that's done, you publish your application, which copies everything (the pages, controls, and database files) to the Web server's root directory using a publishing system that works really well and is easily configurable.

The pages themselves work similarly to the way an ASP.NET or PHP page works. The pages consist of standard HTML and JavaScript mixed with server-side code enclosed in <%a5 %> tags. The server-side code gets executed by the Alpha Five and is replaced by any HTML and JavaScript output. The server-side code includes directives for inserting the controls (which results in a good amount of HTML and JavaScript to handle the AJAX, but you don't need to modify or worry about any of that code), as well as additional code that uses the XBasic programming language.

Of course, if you're a programmer and you're willing to roll up your sleeves, you can do even more. With those server-side directives, you can put in your own XBasic code, which works very much like programming ASP.NET and PHP. For example, you can use the good old BASIC "print" statement that consists of just a question mark.

When you print something (such as a string or a variable), the output of the print statement goes right into the final HTML that gets sent down to the browser-just like the echo statement in PHP or the Response.Write statement in ASP.NET. In fact, if you don't want to use the components, you're free to create entire Web pages using all your own custom server-side code.

Jeff Cogswell is the author of Designing Highly Useable Software ( among other books and is the owner/operator of CogsMedia Training and Consulting.Currently Jeff is a senior editor with Ziff Davis Enterprise. Prior to joining Ziff, he spent about 15 years as a software engineer, working on Windows and Unix systems, mastering C++, PHP, and ASP.NET development. He has written over a dozen books.

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