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Article Title:
Improve Your Visitors Experience - Add Scripts to Your Website

Article Description:
For new webmasters, adding third-party software and scripting to 
a website can be a really scary proposition. I remember when I 
put my first scripts on my own website.

Additional Article Information:
1363 Words; formatted to 65 Characters per Line
Distribution Date and Time: Tue Jan 31 22:05:08 EST 2006

Written By:     Gavyn Stewart
Copyright:      2006
Contact Email:  mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED]

Article URL: 

For more free-reprint articles by this Author, please visit:


Improve Your Visitors Experience - Add Scripts to Your Website
Copyright © 2006 Gavyn Stewart
Stewart Consultants

For new webmasters, adding third-party software and scripting to 
a website can be a really scary proposition. I remember when I 
put my first scripts on my own website. Even with my basic dos 
programming experience in high school, I was still intimidated by 
the whole process. I was so sure that I was going to screw 
something up.

The very first script I ever installed on my website 
was a Graphical Counter from 
( I ended up 
spending five days playing with the script to get it to display 
just the way I wanted it displayed.

The second script I ever installed was a Recommend This Page 
To A Friend script, also from 

How Scripts Differ From Ordinary HTML

Basic web building uses HTML. HTML is simply a markup language 
that helps you display text and images within a web page. 

Most of us know the basics of how to build a webpage in HTML. 
Others use website design software that interprets the requests 
of the user to build a webpage in HTML.

In its most basic understanding, "scripting" is the process of 
programming webpages to perform certain calculations, which will 
affect how information is displayed on the webpage. 

If you fill out a form on a website and hit send, chances are 
that you are engaging a script of some sort to interpret the 
information that you have sent to the website. If you return to a 
website and it knows your username and password, then a script 
has been involved in the process to make your return visit much 
simpler. If you see a list of the most recent posts on a website, 
then a script was used to make that information appear for your 

Scripting is most often handled in Javascript, VBscript 
(Microsoft's answer to Javascript), PHP or Perl. Each one is 
different in its structure and utilization.

Javascript can be added within the actual HTML of a webpage, and 
it will fire when the page is loaded or when a request is made. 
One way that I have recently seen Javascript used was for a page 
that was doing a countdown of how much time remains until their 
scheduled event. I have actually used Javascript to put news 
feeds across the top of my webpages. Some Javascript is usually 
placed in the page header, between the HEAD tags within the HTML. 
Other Javascript is placed in the HTML body where the Javascript 
activities are intended to appear.

VBscript works in the same manner as Javascript, but needs to 
reside on a Microsoft Windows server.

PHP and Perl are more appropriately designated as languages. Both 
are file types, and both allow you to design an entire website or 
parts of a website to perform specific actions or functions.

A function is defined as, "Functions (also known as subroutines 
and procedures) are chunks of code - parts of programs - which 
can be called from another part of the program. Generally, 
functions greatly enhance the space-efficiency and 
maintainability of computer programs."

PHP and Perl Usage

Most servers have PHP and Perl functionality built into the web 
hosting accounts. However, not all web hosting companies are 
comfortable offering Perl (CGI-Bin) access to their users. 

The reason why many web hosts shudder at the thought of making 
the Perl libraries available to their users is because Perl is a 
very powerful scripting language. In the hands of the wrong 
person(s), Perl access in a server can be used to bring great 
harm upon the server.

In order to operate Perl scripts, you must have the ability to 
change and set file permissions on any file that resides on your 
web hosting account. If you have just a basic Yahoo hosting 
account, you will not be able to use any Perl applications on 
your website. Some web hosts prohibit Perl usage at any level. 

PHP is a new language that came about over the last few years. It 
has been designed to allow people who do not have Perl access to 
still have the ability to do scripting on their domain. 

PHP generally does not require that you have access to file 
permissions. In Perl, executable files must carry permissions 
of 755. In PHP, most files will only be required to carry 
permissions of 644, which are the same permissions a standard 
webpage carries. 

Fortunately for Perl programmers like me, PHP operates in many of 
the same manners that Perl programs operate. The learning curve 
from Perl to PHP is not very big at all.

Perl and PHP Bring With Them Powerful Libraries of Functions

What makes Perl and PHP as powerful as they are is the fact that 
both utilize functions very well. Basically, a function will 
carry out one specific task, and it will be able to be called 
from anywhere in your software. 

Generally, one of the very first actions to be taken in a script 
is to INCLUDE all other files that are needed to operate the 
software. The additional files generally carry many of the 
functions that will be used in the software. 

Then the software proceeds to carry out all of the necessary 
functions in order to build a webpage in a specific, pre-defined 

Programmers decide that there is a task that they perform often, 
and then they build it into a function. In time, the programmer 
will usually make his function available to the programming 
community. And eventually, if the function is exceptionally 
useful, then the function will be bundled in new releases of the 
basic Perl or PHP build. All of these additional functions are 
made available as the functions library.

How To Find Perl and PHP Scripts to Use On Your Website

There are actually many places you can go to find scripts to use 
for your websites. Some websites offer directories of free and 
paid scripts. Some websites will let you have their scripts if 
they can have your email address. 

Additionally, there are literally thousands of websites and 
hundreds of books that will teach you how to write your own 
scripts in any of these languages.

When I am in the mood to improve my coding abilities, I like 
going to: Planet Source Code 
offers full scripts and pieces of scripts, with feedback, that 
will teach me to be a better programmer.

My favorite place for locating scripts to download for free or to 
buy is:

The Resource Index has one part of their site dedicated to Perl 

They also have one part of their site dedicated to PHP scripts:

Another decent site for locating scripts is at:

Many individual programmers also offer a lot of good software for 
purchase or for free. A few of the good ones will be:

In Conclusion...

If you have ever told yourself, "it would be cool (or useful) if 
I could do this for my website's visitors," then you are in the 
market to learn how to use scripts on your website. 

If you have imagined it, chances are someone has programmed it. 
If they have programmed it, then you will either be able to 
download it for free, or to buy it at a very reasonable cost. 

Before you plunk down your money to buy a program or script, be 
sure that the programmer is willing to show you the script in 
action. If it doesn't do what you want it to do, don't buy it. If 
it does do what you want to do, then by all means, do consider 
purchasing the software for use on your own site. 

When programmers offer their software for sale, their 
documentation is usually pretty good. They will tell you what 
steps you need to take to install it on your server, and they 
will tell you how to operate the software. 

It is very realistic to believe that if you like what the 
software does, you can have it live and operational on your 
website in less than 30 minutes in most cases.

Good luck. I will be around later to see what cool stuff you have 
added to your website. ;-)

Gavyn Stewart is a writer and programmer. When we needed software
for our websites, we would always go on the hunt for software to 
buy. At the end of the day when we could not find pre-packaged 
software to do exactly what we wanted it to do, we built our 
own. Since most programmers are not business owners, how could 
they know what we really needed? We have started making some 
of our own software available for purchase at:



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