Cosmic Debris

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We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future. — Franklin Delano Roosevelt

I have a feeling this page is going to turn into a blog at some point. E-mail me if you’re interested in taking part in a blog for this site.

Alex Dawson’s Book

My friend and SitePoint colleague Alex Dawson was kind enough to provide me a copy of his 2009 book Getting StartED Building Websites. I am eager to crack the binding and get started incorporated snippets of Alex’s wisdom into these pages. Highly, highly recommended!

Static vs. Dynamic Web Sites

You will learn to make static Web site throughout these pages. But dynamic Web sites are also very popular, and at times very, very necessary.

Web development guru Jonathan Lane gives us a brief and informative definition:

A static web site is a web site where the content, the HTML and graphics, are always static — it is served up to any visitor the same, unless the person who created the web site decides to manually change the copy of it on the server ... On a dynamic web site on the other hand, the content on the server is the same, but instead of just being HTML, it also contains dynamic code, which may display different data depending on information you feed to the web site.

Lane gives the example of Amazon, the enormous online bookseller and retail/discount outlet. When you search for, say, a Web design manual, a scuba set, and a blender, you get what looks like three different pages. You actually only get one page, with different dynamic content generated for your request. All of Amazon’s enormous information store is kept in a database and accessed at need.

Most dynamic sites are driven by a content management system (CMS) of one sort or another, often driven by dynamic languages such as PHP, Ruby on Rails, ASP, Python, or ColdFusion. When you see a site with a different file extension, such as:


you’re dealing with a dynamic site driven by a dynamic language and possibly run by a CMS.

All of this is well beyond the scope of this site. But now you know it’s out there.

The Last Lecture

If you wait long enough, people will surprise and impress you. — Jon Snoddy, quoted by Randy Pausch

Randy Pausch’s The Last Lecture is one of the best books I’ve ever read, period. You can read more about it at the links above. I don’t usually care for books of this nature, and I avoid “self-help” and “inspirational” books like they were contagious. But this one made a real impact on me. That doesn’t happen very often. I can’t recommend it highly enough.