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4 Database Development Tools for a Dynamic eCommerce Website

An Effective eCommerce Web Design Uses the Best Development Tools
You need only surf over to eBay or Amazon.com to see that today’s most successful businesses are using eCommerce, allowing customers to browse and buy online. But there’s at least one way in which virtual shopping is the same as traditional shopping: the more positive a customer’s interaction with your business is, the better your business will do.

On the internet, interactivity equals database programming. In order to equip your site with dynamic features like online shopping carts or inventory management, you’ll need a programmer with experience in diverse types of web solutions, so that he or she can help you figure out what kind of coding will work best for your site. Below are a few of the most popular and effective tools in database programming that you might encounter.

PHP
PHP (or, recursively enough, “PHP Hypertext Preprocessor”) is a scripting language, specifically intended for web applications, which means it helps control how webpages dynamically respond to input from users. There are a lot of scripting languages to choose from, but nowadays PHP is the most popular; according to a web technology survey done by W3Techs in late 2010, it’s used by more than 75% of all web servers. Why? Just a few reasons to start you off:

  • PHP is compatible with all the major operating systems, including Windows, Mac, and Linux.
  • It’s “lightweight,” meaning that it doesn’t take up a lot of resources. As a result, it doesn’t slow down other processes and it runs fast itself.
  • Because PHP is what’s called a “server-side technology,” it doesn’t require visitors to have any special browser plugins.
  • It’s open source… meaning it’s free.
  • And you’d be surprised how often you see PHP at work almost every time you’re online. Some highly successful websites that rely on PHP are eBay, Facebook, Google, Wikipedia, Yahoo, and YouTube.

MySQL
MySQL is a relational database management system (RDBMS). In English: it’s a database server that allows you to store data and run programs on the internet. Used in tandem with PHP, MySQL is one of the most powerful tools around for creating a dynamic website. A few of the perks it offers:

  • MySQL provides access to most other major online databases.
  • MySQL can carry out procedures faster than can a programming language alone, and it puts much less of a load on servers.
  • Almost alone among RDBMSs, it can run on almost all operating systems.
  • MySQL is commercial grade, but like PHP it’s open source and free.
  • It works particularly well with PHP, one of the most common and effective programming languages on the internet.
  • Some highly successful websites that use MySQL: Facebook, Flickr, Wikipedia, WordPress, and YouTube.

Ruby on Rails
“Ruby on Rails” actually refers to two components of an overall system. The first, Ruby, is a scripting language like PHP. Although it was created in Japan during the 1990s, programmers in the US have, relatively speaking, only recently begun to realize what kinds of new advantages it offers in web database development. For example:

  • Ruby is open source and free.
  • It is popular among programmers because the coding syntax itself is simple and clean. Its designer has said that “Ruby is designed to make programmers happy.”
  • Since Ruby came along fairly late in the programming-language game, its creators were able to apply lessons that they’d learned from other languages in order to make Ruby even better.
  • Paired with this up-and-coming programming language is Rails, a framework made to maximize Ruby’s strengths.

Like Ruby itself, Rails is open source. It also:

  • is much faster than many traditional frameworks.
  • requires less software and fewer lines of code, so development is faster and bugs are rarer.
  • relies on a principle known as “convention over configuration,” which means that it has built-in methods–“conventions”– to carry out common processes in database development. Because of this, less time needs to be spent on writing new configuration files for every action, and the development process moves faster.

Altogether, Ruby on Rails is an extremely efficient and creative tool for creating dynamic websites.

Java
The programming language Java is a standard in the world of web development. It works differently from languages like PHP and Ruby because it is a what’s called a “compiled language” rather than a scripting language. As a result, it has its own array of strengths, like:

  • Java was designed to be a simple language that is easy to learn. This means it’s easy to maintain and tweak as time goes by.
  • It was also specifically designed with data security in mind.
  • Because Java has been around a long time, it is very well documented–in other words, there are many sources that you can consult about it.
  • But just like the other languages described above, Java is a reliable and platform independent (compatible with various computer systems) language that’s particularly suited to web database development. Like PHP, it even gives access to MySQL.

Consult with an Experienced Web/Database Developer about which combination of these powerful tools are right for your website!