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Lesson 7 Software applications
Objective Describe Server-side and Client-side Applications.

Describe Server-side and Client-side Applications

Applications are software programs that enable specific functionality. In Web interactions, applications can reside on a Web server (back end) or on a client (front end), or in both places: partly on a client and partly on a server.

Application Function Example
Web server software Processes client requests for web resources Apache, Nginx, IIS, Tomcat
CGI (Common Gateway Interface) Specification that enables transactions between a web server and other programs on the server (.i.e. quizzes) SEOMining: Information request HTML form (PHP script connects the form to the server to generate a response)
ODBC ( Open Database Connectivity) Allows for standardized access to multiple (DBMS) Database Managements Systems SEOMining Extranet: Search and supply forms launch ODBC via SQL to access SEOMining databases
SEOMining internet site catalog page: Pictures of ecommerce are served from MySQL
JDBC (Java Database Connectivity) Enables database connectivity for application written in Java SEOMining intern (Stock quotes)

In the Web Interaction Model, server-side applications support the Signs and Metaphors and Information Architecture layers. For example, Web server software delivers Web pages and other resources that contain Signs and Metaphors. Likewise, ODBC supports Information Architecture by providing access to databases for such navigational/informational features as searches.Some basic client-side applications are listed in the table below:

Client-side applications

Application Function Example
Browser Interprets and displays HTML documents and other resources Chrome, Firefox, Opera
Plug-in Extends the functionality of a browser in support of multimedia resources Real Audio
CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) Specification that enhances a browser's ability to display complex screen layout (i.e. placement of objects in specific locations)

Client-side applications also support the top layers of the Web Interaction Model. Plug-ins, browsers, and CSSs all display and interpret Signs and Metaphors, including multimedia.
Information Architecture is supported by the browser, which both structures information and facilitates navigation.
The MouseOver below shows the ways in which software applications work together in a Web interaction:
  1. Tier 1: Software at the client computer side generally includes an operating system, browser, and email software
  2. Tier 2: Software runs on the webserver . This may include IIS, Apache or nginx as well as web server security such as encryption.
  3. Tier 3: Software databases might include Oracle, SQL Server, or MySQL and MariaDB

Software Applications during Web Interaction


Because browser middleware can be very complex, for this lesson you will need only definitional knowledge of what it is. An analogy for middleware is a translator who allows speakers of two different languages to communicate with each other. Middleware is any software application that connects two applications that are otherwise separate.

Design and development applications

Note that design and development applications fall into a slightly different category than software that enables front-end/back-end interactions. Applications such as PhotoShop are used to create the files that are transmitted and viewed by other Web software during a Web interaction. Some common design and development applications, and their functions, are included in the table below:

Design and development applications

Application Function Example
Image Manipulator Tool used to create web-enabled graphics. Allows alteration of scanned images and creation of new images. Photoshop
HTML Editor Tool to generate HTML code quickly and easily (helps avoid manual coding). Visual Studio Code is a commonly used editor for HTML and JavaScript on the Front end Dreamweaver, Visual Studio Code
Animation Tools Authoring tool for animation and streaming multimedia files Adobe Animate

The Slide Show below illustrates the possible software applications used at the general stages of Web interaction:
  1. A designer uses Adobe Creative Cloud software to create HTML files
  2. HTML files (and other files such as images) are stored on a server such as Nginx or Apache.
  3. A user views the content on a client computer using a browser (also software).

Create Web Page
In the next lesson, you will learn the role that databases play in the functionality of complex Web sites.