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Basics of Dynamic Sites

A static web page is one that’s completely created in advance, with all text and images in place, and housed on a web server to await a visitor coming to look at it. A dynamic web page, in contrast, contains placeholders for content that the server inserts at the moment a visitor requests the page—at runtime—along with instructions to the server on how to construct the completed page. A look at how web pages are processed between the server and the browser will show you how this works.

How Static Web Pages Work

Figure 21.1 shows the typical set of events in the life of a static web page. The page exists on the server. When a visitor clicks a link or types a URL in the address field, the browser sends a request in the form of the desired URL to the web server. The server software then finds the page and responds by sending it back to the browser. This is called the request-and-response model. The request is an HTTP request, using the http:// protocol to begin the URL; the web server software is also called the HTTP server.


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