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The Web Developer's Juggling Act

Michael Hayman Michael discusses the troubles with the rapid growth of Internet technology...can you keep up? I've been creating, maintaining and testing corporate Web sites for a fair while now, and I still encounter confused fellow developers wondering how the heck I know so much about all the new emerging technologies, and how exactly to juggle all that knowledge and make it somehow useful when designing a Web presence. They're bowled over at the seemingly endless knowledge of the Web I possess. Well let me tell you a little secret: it's nothing more than just smoke and mirrors--most of the 'new' technologies are sketchy at best, and my cognizance of the underlying theory is more than enough to prove knowledgable. The requirements for a Web developer these days read like a veritable shopping list. Here's just a selection of the technologies you (supposedly) should be more than just familiar with:
  • PNG (Portable Network Graphics);
  • XML (eXtensible Markup Language);
  • CSS (Cascading Style Sheets);
  • JavaScript;
  • HTML (HyperText Markup Language);
  • DHTML (Dynamic HyperText Markup Language);
  • VBScript (Visual Basic Script);
  • ActiveX;
  • PHP;
  • SSI (Server Side Includes);
  • SQL (Structured Query Language);
  • CGI (Common Gateway Interface);
  • Perl (Practical Extraction and Reporting Language);
  • Apache (free Web server used by approximately 52% of sites on the Internet);
  • Macromedia Flash;
  • IIS (Internet Information Server, running on Windows NT);
  • Windows NT;
  • UNIX (any flavour -- the more familarity the better);
  • Photoshop (graphics manipulation);
  • Macromedia Director/Shockwave;
  • Illustrator (text and graphic illustration);
  • C (common programming language);
  • C++ (C on steroids);
  • Java (write once, run anywhere programming)
So which of the above are really necessary? Unless you're a young Web-savvy whizz bloke like myself, there's probably no chance that you'll ever be able to learn all, or even half of them. Many of the new fangled technologies being touted these days are just promises for the future--three examples being Java, PNG and DHTML.

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