Building Blocks of Dynamic Websites, Technical SEO

Students will discover the power of dynamic website coding with an introductory examination of PHP and MySQL within a full stack website development environment. Students will also gain essential technical skills required for search engine optimization, including htaccess SSL redirection, sitemaps, and Google Search Console. In this course, students will implement basic dynamic functions with PHP, and will hand-code a simple PHP-MySQL application to produce a dynamically-generated blog page. Students will examine similarities between their application and open source Content Management Systems like WordPress, and use what they learned to migrate an existing WordPress website. The course will also explore common cPanel tools for website administration.

Prerequisite: Website Development II or equivalent knowledge (instructor-approved). Students must bring a laptop.

5 Classes 3 hours each. Expected homework: 1:2.

Learning Outcomes:

Students will

  1. Understand how and why to set up a local full stack development on their computer
  2. Demonstrate knowledge of how to construct a dynamically-generated web site using PHP, HTML5, CSS and a MySQL database
  3. Understand how they can use PHP for the best practice of writing modular code, so that if code used in multiple locations on a website needs to be updated, the update can be performed in one code block and automatically populated everywhere the code is used
  4. Recognize how the HTML, CSS, PHP, and MySQL components of a dynamic website must be configured to work together, and use this understanding to effectively migrate a live WordPress website from one server to another
  5. Exhibit familiarity with the essential components of technical SEO
  6. Recognize what tools to use in cPanel for a various aspects of website management and server administration


General Course Goals:

Website Development Part III moves to the next level of preparation for real world website development by introducing students to the local full stack development environment, investigating php and MySQL, exploring how open source content management systems work, and acquiring technical search engine optimization know-how. This course has three high-level goals:

  1. Introduce students to the basics of working in a scripting language, which is a coding medium for setting up application logic rather than the simple formatting and styling directives of HTML5 and CSS. While HTML5 and CSS make up the universal architecture of the web, scripting languages are the engines of all dynamic applications that make the Internet so interactive and useful. Students will get an introductory taste of what it is like to craft with this type of dynamic coding medium.
  2. Provide students with a solid understanding of the common fundamental components of open source content management systems, and how these components integrate with each other. This foundation will provide essential knowledge and perspective to position students for greater competence in areas of server administration and safe migration of open source CMS websites, as well as custom open source CMS maintenance and development.
  3. Equip students with the knowledge of the technical details that absolutely must be implemented for each and every website, to enable successful search engine optimization.


Specific Course Goals:

Upon successful completion of this course, students will:

  1. - Display ability to set up and use a local full stack development on their computer or any computer with an operating system similar to their own
  2. - Display familiarity with PHP syntax and understanding of PHP basics: variables, conditional statements, functions, loops
  3. - Recognize fundamental principles of creating a data structure with a relational database structure
  4. - Demonstrate the ability to use phpmyadmin to
    • a) create, build, and modify a database
    • b) examine the database structure powering an application
    • c) lookup specific information contained in a database
    • d) alter values within the database
    • e) test sql queries as an option for debugging code
  5. - Command the knowledge of how to code dynamic web pages that leverage PHP to print the correct HTML5 structure and CSS styling around content that is pulled out of a database on the fly
  6. - Understand how HTML5, CSS, PHP, and MySQL integrate and what is required for all of these components to work properly together. Students will exercise and prove this understanding by migrating an existing WordPress website from one server to another
  7. - Demonstrate ability to create an .htaccess file and use it to set up SSL redirection and www or non-www redirection
  8. - Exhibit knowledge of how to use or implement essential technical SEO details such as sitemaps, canonical urls, .htaccess redirection, robots.txt, and Google Search Console
  9. - Exhibit familiarity with common cPanel tools such as MySQL Databases, PhpMyAdmin, cPanel Backup tools, FTP administration, File Manager, Email, Site Statistics.