Simon Willison’s Weblog

Items tagged webdevelopment in Aug, 2013

Filters: Year: 2013 × Month: Aug × webdevelopment ×


How long should I budget for an experienced designer to design a responsive ecommerce store?

There’s no single answer to this—it depends on the scope of the project. A one-page store selling 3 items is quicker to design than a thousand page store with dozens of category homepages etc.

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How are you gonna solve when the user has a gender issue?

Don’t ask for gender at all, or if you do make the field optional or provide a text field that the user can put anything they like in.

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Can I pitch my app idea to google?

You could pitch it to Google Ventures, but you’ll need a lot more than just the idea.

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Are there any alternatives to CGI for web servers?

Yes. CGI stopped being relevant around the turn if the century! Many languages can be embedded in web servers now (mod_php, mod_python, mod_perl for Apache etc), there’s the FastCGI protocol which allows web servers to communicate with external processes without needing to start a brand new process for every request, and it’s also common these days to run an HTTP server written in the same language as your application and proxy requests to it—Unicorn, gunicorn, Jetty are all examples of this.

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What are the different ways in which web sites can be developed?

There are a few languages that provide an alternative syntax that compiles to HTML (Haml is quite a popular one) but generally you need to have a very good understanding of HTML in order to do any web development at all, no matter what server-side technology you use. Likewise for CSS—Sass and LESS provide alternative syntax that compiles to CSS, but they are no replacement for understanding how CSS actually works.

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Why aren’t there any popular web frameworks in C/C++ even though they are more performance intensive languages?

Because it’s very hard writing secure code in them due to the way they handle memory management, and web applications have an enormous number of potential paths for malicious input. It’s much easier to write secure web application code in a higher level language (which isn’t to say it’s easy at all even then).

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What is the difference between Windows and Linux for web hosting, in other words, what are the pros and cons of each, each’s limitations, performance development environment and deployment between Windows and Linux?

Any and every operation you perform on a Linux server can be trivially automated by copying the commands you ran in to a text file. I haven’t managed a Windows server in years and I hear PowerShell is pretty great these days but an OS based around a GUI is always going to be harder to automate than one based around a command line.

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