During the 1990s, when the internet was growing and started to be widely used, most internet sites consisted of plain static HTML pages, first, combined with CSS, at best, for the most part. An additional website, dealing with the historical perspective of text, or content presentation prior to the 90’s, which did not change much of it’s design, since the late 90’s, can be found here. The combination of HTML and CSS in itself, offers a nice performance oriented way for page delivery and display on the client side, when done right, according to the taste of the site visitor, so the visitor stays, bookmarks the site and comes back later. However, this way of web design and site organization could grow to very complex site structures, with ever more pages to maintain and to keep updated, on the side of bigger organizations, or corporations, which were interested in providing a performance oriented web presence with a slick style and up to date information, always.

Imagine a web presence of a larger organization, or corporation with a dozen departments and hundreds of static html webpages per department for the internal intranet presence, collaboration and documentation of an organization, alone. The time consumption for the maintenance of these hundreds of static web pages, via a code editor for the intranet pages of the respective departments, alone, may have been immense and prone to human error on a regular basis. Similar issues may have applied to document management on a file system base inside larger institutions, back in the days.

This is where the PHP scripting language of the LAMP stack, or other proprietary solutions, which included ColdFusion, or Active Server Pages (ASP) as scripting language on their respective stack design, came in, from the late 90s and early 2000s, before the LAMP stack finally made it’s way, for several reasons. One big advantage of scripting languages embedded in the HTML/CSS layer, is the capability to dynamically read and write data, or content from and to the database solution of the stack, MySQL, or MariaDB, for the LAMP stack, reducing the amount of possibly hundreds of former static HTML web pages to maintain and update in a static setting, within the case mentioned above, to just a few templates to be dynamically interpreted by the PHP scripting layer of the stack, filled with data of the database layer and sent back as plain html to the client. A typical plain PHP template, with embedded database queries, to the database layer of the LAMP stack, may look like this, for example. Additional practical creative scripting inspiration, may be found here and here. Another nice example how PHP templates could be enhanced by CSS grid designs is shown in the short video by Kevin Powell below:

The LAMP stack and GNU Linux in internet history

Prior and parallel to the emergence of Content Management Systems (CMS), like Mambo, Joomla, Drupal, WordPress, and others, as well as Documents Management Systems like OpenDocMan, SeedDMS or private cloud solutions like NextCloud, we know of today, the content of dynamic webapplications, which had to be developed on an individual use case scenario, back in the days, was at least in part, dependig on the design of the webapplication, altered and updated within the database, via a specifically designed input mask for editors, or directly within the backend of the database, though this may have led to extensive headaches for the respective database administrators of the web application, depending on the skill and database permissions of the editors on the db backend. A common setup would connect the database server of choice, to a proprietary application server like cold fusion, via ODBC, which in turn connected to a webserver of choice like IIS, or Apache, etc., which then provided the HTML for the client side, for example.

Modern Content Management Systems (CMS) based on the more streamlined implementation of the LAMP stack, as explained above, moved the plain block design and content input of website projects, into the respective internet browser of choice, so there was no more need, to directly interact with a database input mask, on the database backend, for content updates on the website, by the editors, which eased and simplified content publishing a lot and mitigated possible problems and incompatiblities due to more complex setups of some of the proprietary solutions described above, without additional licensing costs. For additional information on why the LAMP stack is so fundamental to the modern internet you’re invited to have a further read here.

And for the most important layer, in order to run the upper layers/levels of the stack, there are some recent statistics on the GNU operating system plus Linux kernel as base and core server element of the LAMP stack, for your information to be found here. Since the numbers mentioned in the article speak for itself and shine a light on how GNU Linux is valued not only by developers, it may be correct to conclude this article with the following statement by the DistroTube channel:

Does it make sense to waste energy and try to convince people, who do not want to be convinced? PROs already know! The answer is up to you….

If you want to find out more about dynamic webapplications feel free to check the following section on this site.

To be continued and updated….