The most difficult and time consuming method of creating dynamic web sites is to write custom CGI programs. A web site can run any program using a language such a Perl or C. This requires excellent programming skills.
Microsoft has introduced ActiveX/VBScript which brings their Visual Basic philosophy to the web. A lot of existing VB code and programs can be quickly transferred to use on the web. The biggest problem with this is that it Active X only works with Microsoft browsers. Given that 70% of the world uses a Netscape browser, this severely limits the use of the technology at this point.
The most popular method of creating dynamic web sites is to use some sort of server side HTML language enhancement product from Internet software companies. This takes a lot of the complexity out of the programming required but gives the full power needed to develop a truly interactive and content rich dynamic web site. There are many products available now that assist in creating dynamic sites. Simple database to web gateway products that do nothing more allow database access on a web page are a thing of the past. Many of the products started as database to web gateway software but have evolved into very powerful programming languages for the web that look deceptively similar to regular HTML.
iHTML 2.20 from Inline Internet Systems Inc.
Russ Cobbe is the President of Inline Internet Systems, Inc. which focuses on the development of dynamic web sites for corporate clients. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.