Dynamic web page

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A dynamic web page is a hypertext document rendered to a World Wide Web user presenting content that has been customized or actualized for each individual viewing or rendition or that continually updates information as the page is displayed to the user.

Classical web page design using only HTML or XHTML, provides static content, meaning that a page retrieved by different users at different times is always the same.

However, a web page can also provide a live user experience. Content (text, images, form fields, etc.) on a web page can change, in response to different contexts or conditions. There are two ways to create this kind of effect:

  • Using client-side scripting to change interface behaviors within a specific web page, in response to mouse or keyboard actions or at specified timing events. In this case the dynamic behavior occurs within the presentation.
  • Using server-side scripting to change the supplied page source between pages, adjusting the sequence or reload of the web pages or web content supplied to the browser. Server responses may be determined by such conditions as data in a posted HTML form, parameters in the URL, the type of browser being used, the passage of time, or a database or server state.

Web pages that use the first method must use presentation technology called, in a broader sense, rich interfaced pages. Client-side scripting languages like JavaScript or ActionScript, used for Dynamic HTML (DHTML) and Flash technologies respectively, are frequently used to orchestrate media types (sound, animations, changing text, etc.) of the presentation. The scripting also allows use of remote scripting, a technique by which the DHTML page requests additional information from a server, using a hidden Frame, XMLHttpRequests, or a Web service.

Web pages that use to the second method are often created with the help of server-side languages such as PHP, Perl, ASP, ASP.NET, JSP, ColdFusion and other languages. These server-side languages typically use the Common Gateway Interface (CGI) to produce dynamic web pages. These kinds of pages can also use, on the client-side, the first kind (DHTML, etc.).


Dynamic web sites

In dynamic sites page content and page layout are created separately. The content is retrieved from a database and is placed on a webpage only when needed or asked. The benefit of this is that it allows for quicker page loading and it allows just about anyone, with limited or no web design experience, to update their own website via an administrative tool. This set-up is ideal for those who wish to make frequent changes to their websites including text and image updates. Dynamic sites are also great for image galleries, online calendars or e-commerce, etc.

Client-side content generation

The Client-side content is generated on the user's computer. The web browser retrieves a page from the server, then processes the code embedded in the page (often written in JavaScript) and displays the retrieved page's content to the user.

The innerHTML property (or write command) can illustrate the client-side dynamic page generation: two distinct pages, A and B, can be regenerated as document.innerHTML = A and document.innerHTML = B; or "on load dynamic" by document.write(A) and document.write(B).

Server-side generation

Server-side dynamic content is more complicated.

  • The client sends the server the request.
  • The server receives the request and processes the server-side script such as [PHP] based on the query string, HTTP POST data, cookies, etc.

Combined client and server content generation

Ajax is a newer web development technique for dynamically interchanging content with the server-side, without reloading the web page. Google Maps is an example of a web application that uses Ajax techniques and database.


It is difficult to be precise about "dynamic web page beginnings" or chronology, because the precise concept makes sense only after the "widespread development of web pages". Context and dates of the "web beginnings":

  • HTTP protocol has been in use by the Web since 1990, HTML, as standard, since 1996.
  • The web browsers explosion started with 1993's Mosaic.

For server-side dynamic pages:

For client-side:

See also


ca:Pàgina web dinàmica de:Webseite#Dynamische Webseiten es:Contenido dinámico fa:صفحه وب پویا fr:Page Web dynamique it:Pagina web dinamica ku:Rûpelên web yan dînamîkî nl:Dynamische webpagina ru:Динамический сайт sk:Dynamická webová stránka th:ไดนามิกเว็บเพจ uk:Динамічна веб-сторінка

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