HTML and CSS Reference
This lesson provided a brief tour of a few popular web applications that you can use to
go beyond building websites made up of static HTML pages. Not only are there lots of
other applications out there, but there are also lots of other categories of applications out
there. You can find guest topics, shared calendars, discussion boards, tools for sharing
bookmarks, and everything in between. Also, even though I focused on applications written
in PHP, there are equivalents of these applications written for many other platforms, too.
Applications such as blogging tools and wikis enable you to build a relationship with
your users by allowing them to contribute to your site, either by posting comments or
contributing information of their own. Unfortunately, spammers looking to advertise their
websites or raise their search engine rank also take advantage of these features by way of
programs that seek out and automatically post to sites running common software, such as
TypePad, WordPress, and MediaWiki (among others).
There are a number of approaches to combating spam. These days, most popular applica-
tions provide tools that attempt to prevent spammers from posting; but even so, some
spam still makes it through. I mention this only to let you know that it's a risk of deploy-
ing these kinds of applications on the Web these days.
The most important thing to remember is that you shouldn't deploy one of these applica-
tions and then abandon it. A MediaWiki installation that goes unused will be overrun
with spammers in no time. The same is true for the comments sections of blogs, too. If
you put up an application but then stop using it, you should remove the files or configure
your web server so that it is no longer publicly accessible. Not only will it keep spam-
mers from filling up your databases with junk, but it will also be an act of good citizen-
ship on the Web.
The purpose of this lesson was to take you beyond the realm of HTML, CSS, and
on the Web than uploading HTML files to a server. Using free or inexpensive tools, you
can build interactive websites that help you keep a handle on your content and make it
easy to communicate with your users. You can apply your newfound skills to personalizing
and improving these tools as well as to creating the content that you use them to publish.