Scripts and Scripting Resources

One of the most important tools used today to create, maintain and manipulate information via Web sites is the use of scripts.

Generally, there are two types of scripts: server-side scripts which are run on the Web server and client-side scripts which are run at the client's computer. Listed below are some popular scripting languages and resources to finding out more about them.

Scripting Resources

ActiveX Data Objects (ADO)
A high-level data access object model introduced by Microsoft in 1996.

Active Server Pages (ASP)
A technology introduced by the Mesa Group in 1997 and now owned by Microsoft (which acquired Mesa Group in 1998). ASP automatically senses whether the user's browser supports ActiveX. If it does, an applet is downloaded; if not, ASP runs the applet on the server and broadcasts the result to the client.

Common Gateway Interface / Practical Extraction and Report Language (CGI / Perl)
CGI is a data-passing specification used when a Web server must send or receive data from an application such as a database. A CGI script passes the request from the Web server to a database, obtains the output and returns it to the Web client.

Perl (Practical Extraction Report Language)
A Unix scripting language for high-level system control, often used to manage Web servers.

A scripting language targeted specifically to the Internet. It is the first scripting language to fully conform to ECMAScript, the Web's only standard scripting language. Despite its name, JavaScript is not a derivative of Java; its origin is Netscape's Livescript language. JavaScript is, in fact, closer to C / C++ in syntax than it is to Java.

The term "Java" can be applied to Sun Microsystems' Java platform or to its Java programming language. The Java platform include the Java Virtual Machine (JVM), which provides a uniform Java byte code emulator for Java's cross-platform runtime environment; the Java programming language, which provides a robust, object-oriented language for constructing Java components and applications; and the standard Java class library packages, which provide sets of reusable services that promote consistency among components and applications. The Java programming language is based on C and extends and complements the basic capabilities of Hypertext Markup Language. Java permits the creation of applications and application modules (called "applets") that run in the JVM on the browser.

Java Server Pages (JSP)
A mechanism that allows Java source code to be inserted into Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) files. This source code is executed on the Web server (by servlets), and the resulting HTML is output to a Web browser. JSP allows many types of developers to interact with both HTML and Java in designing the interface to Java applications.

PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor (PHP)
A very popular open-source scripting language popular for the ability to work on various platforms.

Structured Query Language (SQL)
A relational data language that provides a consistent, English-keyword-oriented set of facilities for data querying, definition, manipulation and control. It is a programmed interface to relational database management systems (RDBMSs). IBM introduced SQL as the main external interface to its experimental RDBMS, System R, which it developed in the 1970's. SQL statements include:
  • Data manipulation language (DML) statements: "select," "insert," "update" and "delete"
  • Data definition language (DDL) statements, including the "create" and "drop" statements for tables and indexes
  • Data control language (DCL) statements that control access and update privileges: "grant" and "revoke."
  • SQL statements are called "dynamic" when they are not completely specified until the program is executed, and "static" when they are completely specified when the program is compiled. SQL is precise, because it is based on predicate logic, but is difficult for average users to deal with, and its most fruitful position is as a protocol for software-to-software connectivity, rather than for human-to-software access.

Server Side Includes  (SSL)
Server-side commands run via the Web server.

Visual Basic (VBScript)
A Microsoft proprietary language derived from Visual Basic. Like JavaScript, VBScript is intended for use as a browser-based, server-side and administrative language. Unlike JavaScript, support for VBScript in browsers is limited to Microsoft's Internet Explorer.