We get an array of questions about jQuery, PHP, MySQL, Databases, Graphic Design and Solid Modeling. Feel free to email your questions to and we'll try to answer them here.
It's really important that you, the customer, understand what it is we do so you can work with us to ceate a more accurate product. Part of the Database Programmers mission is to educate and inform our customers to close the gap between developers and non-developers. Part of our responsibility is to learn your business to provide you a better product. When we are all on the same page, our projects will evolve quicker and we can hit target with less effort and less expense.
The simple explanation is that PHP is a free Open Source server-side programming language that provides extreme functionality and dynamic control over data, databases, files, and servers. PHP is like the glue that binds browsers, servers, databases and unexpected variables into a speedy responsive enironment for your users. PHP is available on all hosting platforms, so it's readily available anywhere. PHP is portable across multiple platforms and environments.
MySQL is a free Open Source SQL Querying Language that is used to talk to databases to manage data. The MySQL Database is an Open Source database that provides extreme speed, functionality and speedy development. MySQL offers the phenomenal speeds, unlimited storage and tremendous flexibility wiuth no licensing fees whatsoever. MySQL is available on all hosting platforms, so it's readily available anywhere. MySQL is portable across multiple platforms and environments.
Whatever flavor of database you select, it is a storage system that provides architectural control and data access management. Some would think of a database like a spreadsheet, but with far more complexity and more dimensionality.
Web development is the basic structural process for building websites. As opposed to web programming, web development does not include dynamic control or browser-side or server-side languages. Think of web development like building the skeletal structure of your web application prior to integrating the dynamic systems and interactivity.
Graphic design is simply the development of static visual elements, which can be used for web, print or other purposes. Graphic design supports many web applications, whether that be dynamic logos, watermarks, resizing systems or a static web page. There are multiple types of graphic designers, which means web application development requires a web application graphic designer, not a print designer. A thorough understanding of dynamics and interactivity are required for a graphic designer to support dynamic web applications. Dynamic graphic designers can support print and marketing, but print-only graphic designers rarely support dynamic web applicaton development without headaches.
Graphic design is usually perceived as 2D, or 2-dimensional, which is a flat static image. 3D design means building a virtual 3-dimensional space and developing solid models with materials, textures and environments. 3D design can export to static flat images (2D) as well as to animated images, videos/movies, and interactive video games or virtual interactive presentations. 2D graphic design can sometimes simulate a 3D look, but there is no substitute for 3D design.
Wow, I'm glad you asked this question! 3D design is our passion and here's why. Lets say you have a line of products and you spend $1000 to setup your studio, lighting, muslins, filters, and so on and then shoot high-res photos. That studio gets torn-down for the next photos shoot, which means rebuilding the "exact same studio" to reproduce the environment for new products, or reshooting current products. Now, lets say you need to reshoot your products with a minor change, whether that be a rotational shift, logo change, color mod, or some other unanticipated drama. You're recurring that same $1000 studio fee, plus other charges. I've seen photography studio charges in excess of $5000 per day! Now comes the 3D impact...
In a 3D virtual space, we build the same photography studio including lighting, muslins, filters, cameras, backdrops and whatever the physical studio constructs. But, in 3D space we can create this much faster, introduce multiple combinations of those elements. Environments can be cloned and tweaked with a click. Lets say you need to rotate all 25 products 5° and increase the lighting 5%. Instead of another $1000 studio fee, it takes about 2 minutes in 3D. The only time incurred is re-rendering each product.
Here's an interesting twist! Lets say your product doesn't exist yet. Maybe it's a Kickstarter project and your prototype would cost too much to discover funding. No problem, it doesn't really exist in 3D space anyway, so you can design and develop your product render photo-realistic images and get funding or industry approval later.
3D design lets us render to almost any size, exceeding the clarity and size limitations of digital cameras. We can render a small website banner image in seconds, or generate a city bus body wrap, with the exact same clairty and resolution!
jQuery provides enhanced browser-side dynamic control. The possibilities are seemingly endless, but here are a couple of examples to get your mind ticking. jQuery can track the location of the mouse, time how long it pauses, which images or text it hovers over, or if the mouse is leaving the page. Most users' eyes track the mouse, meaning they move the mouse where they are reading or looking. Lets say the user hovers over an ad banner for dirty jeans for more than 5 seconds. That means there is more interest in that ad, and tracking this behavior lets us build a temporary profile of the user to guide us in promoting more approriate ads... the user sees more dirty jeans ads. jQuery lets us dynamically swap banner ads without reloading the page, which means we can swap-out ignored ads with more pertinent ads to increase clickthrough potential. Now the user moves the mouse out of scope and we think they are going to browse away! Pop a page ad offering a bigger discount or some incentive to stay on the page. It's really just a case of creativity and loving tracking data!
Tracking data can be managed browser-side alone, but we prefer to use server-side PHP to inspect, analyze, store and report as needed. We also prefer to store that tracking data in MySQL Databases for longterm reporting. If you run an ad for a month and only evaluate the clickthroughs, you're only seeing a smidge of the potential data. By storing the tracking data in a MySQL Database, you can run hourly, daily, weekly, monthly or yearly reports that provide intense insight into what that ad really did or did not do. I've watched companies construct roadside billboards and hope for the best, paying recurring fees and having no clue what that billboard could really do. Tracking, reporting and analysis lets you leverage the best performance potential, and avoid expense when performance is poor or nonexistent.