Looking at Web 2.0 for your next website? Trying to make sense out of all the technology choices that are available? Start here with a fresh approach to understanding your choices.
Moving from a simple content management system to a custom crafted website can help deliver your organization's message to the people you're trying to reach. If you want to get started incrementally, consider the stacks and layers approach.
World Wide Web terminology is confusing because technology practitioners use so much jargon. Sure, words like "firewall", "server", "wiki", and "forum" are standard vocabulary for all of us; and phrases like "content management systems", "social networking", and "disaster recovery plan" have entered our vernacular; and even acronyms like HTTP, HTML, and CSS are understood by millions of people.
But behind each of these words, phrases and acronyms lies a world of technology filled with protocols, standards and competing software alternatives. And with each set of alternatives comes a set of choices: which technology solves my problem?, which is compatible with my other choices?, what new headaches go along with my choice?, and what's the bottom line cost?
The stack and layers approach to organizing Web technology is a fresh take on the state of the art in 2016. In this approach, the world of software technologies is divided into five stacks, separated along lines of duty. Each stack, in turn, is divided into five layers where a layer is composed of technologies that solve well-defined sets of problems.
Within each layer there are many possible software implementations to choose from. Each implementation has it's own strengths and weaknesses, its own set of prerequisites and dependancies, and its own genesis and final horizon.
Here's the top level view of how this fresh approach divides the pieces of the puzzle:
Everything that is visible to your site visitors and runs on their computer: the browser itself, the web page layout, the graphical look and feel, and the interactions via keyboard and mouse.
Everything on your Internet Service Provider's host computer: your web page content, your database, your business processing code, and your remote links to services like analytics, advertising, credit card processing, or mapping.
Everything needed to connect your visitors to your web site: the communication via URLs, your domain name, your email system, your protection via firewall and data encryption.