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more about my blog

August 30, 2006

I left off last time with a question about what I wanted out of this blog….I don’t really know…so I’m not really setting any sort of expectations.

I intentionally didn’t make a way for others to leave comments…this is my soap box, not yours. If you don’t agree with me, send me an email and I’ll take the discussion off-line with you. If I feel it’s relevant enough, I’ll post it.

Why am I not using some pre-made blog crap like myspace or blogspot or some other BS….because I can have all the server space and bandwidth I want right here…and it’s 100% free. No advertisements. You don’t stumble across this blog just surfing…if you’re reading this, it’s probably because someone either sent you the link, or you’re one of my friends.

I guess I can probably describe a little bit about the technical implementation of the page you are reading. I’ll take it from the top, as if you know nothing about web servers.

Basically, I have a computer (my server) sitting here listening on my IP address. When a request comes in on port 80 (when someone points there browser at my site), the web server software on the computer picks up the request, determines what web page they’re requesting, and sends that page back.

Now, the pages on a server typically come in two varieties….static, meaning they don’t change, and dynamic, meaning that when a request comes in, a new page is created and sent back. This blog is a type of dynamic page. An example of a static page would be the first page of the site with the site news.

That comes to the next point…how do you physically generate a page on the fly? It works like this….you put all your static pages into one directory and all your dynamic pages in another. When a request comes in for one of the static pages, the web sever simply opens the file, sends it and closes the file. When you request one of the dynamic pages, instead of opening the file, you actually run the file like any other program on the server. Then, the output of the program gets sent back to the user’s browser and the browser interprets the output and makes the page.

The program that gets executed when this page was requested was written in PERL. You could write it in any language, but the scripting languages(PERL, PHP, Ruby, etc.) seem to be popular choices for these dynamic pages. Most people would probably have written it in PHP, but I have found too many faults with PHP. Someone once said that PHP was “Training wheels without the bike.” I think this is fairly true. While PHP does make some very complex interactions and capabilities possible, PERL also makes all these capabilites and interactions possible but opens up many more possibilities.

So, bottom line, my junk’s written in PERL for now….perhaps when I step up and start interfacing my scripts to databases, PHP will change my mind.

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