Technology Used


HTML is an acronym of Hyper Text Markup Language, and is the core building language that makes up the front end of any website. Your web browser will read the HTML, interpret it and display it on your screen.

HTML has been around for a number of years and now it’s in it’s 5th generation. HTML5 is a powerful language that extends on the groundwork set before it. With HTML5, animations, video and high end graphics are all possible.


SQL (Structured Query Language) is the language that allows interaction with databases. MySQL is the storage software to hold databases of dynamic websites. MySQL is used to store information for databases driven websites. Records can be added, updated and deleted using SQL commands.

MySQL is the core database system for all our CMS based websites and systems.


PHP is a backronym; originally an acronym for Personal Home Page, it now stands for Hypertext Preprocessor. (We personally prefer the original acronym!).

PHP is a powerful server-side programming language, meaning that it compiles and runs on a host server, rather than on a visitor’s device (like JavaScript does). This means that it can be used to compile and distribute sensitive and complex code to any range devices, without developers having to worry about backwards compatibility to older devices.

PHP is essentially the engine that makes the website run, and can be used to extract data from a secure and encrypted database and display it safely to a user, as well as generate dynamic content (content that can change or update over time, as opposed to static content, which doesn’t change or update).

Whilst there are alternatives to PHP (the closest competitor being ASP.NET) they don’t come close to PHP in terms of features or support, with upwards of 80% of websites estimated to use PHP.

CSS3 (and SASS)

CSS stands for Cascading Style Sheets, and is a document used in web design to style a web page. Whilst HTML is used primarily to determine the key structure a document, CSS is used to tweak and re-order the structure, apply the paintwork and finalise the finishing touches.

CSS3 is the most up-to-date version of CSS, and provides a plethora of new features over older CSS versions, including support for multiple, width-dependent style sheets (allowing for website to ‘re-style’ based on the size of device viewing the web page, such as mobile phones and tablets) as well as animations and much more.

SASS is an extension of CSS, and stands for Syntactically Awesome Style Sheets. SASS is a pre-compiler, meaning that it allows developers to write CSS using keywords and short-hand techniques. When the website is ready to go, a program is then used to convert the SASS code into normal CSS.

A good way of thinking about SASS is drawing a parallel to a journalist taking shorthand notes. They will scribble down almost illegible symbols to save time in getting the story down, but ultimately the final print article will be written in plain language!

Despite the clamour surrounding SASS, there are numerous alternatives, none being particularly better or worse, and at AWD we have developed our own internal CSS compiler for all of our websites that is tailored for ease of development and great results in the Google speed test (which tests a websites’ loading and rendering times).


AJAX (an abbreviation of asynchronous JavaScript and XML) is a powerful method of programming that allows for live updating of any website without the need to refresh. While the name suggests XML is used, modern day developers use JSON for their data sources.

In a website visitor sense AJAX allows fantastic use of live interaction and information on any website. As the requests are coupled with powerful jQuery it means actions such as add to basket processes or information searches can be incorporate intuitive animations and high end user experience. This makes the whole process of using a website fun and enjoyable.


JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) is a standard of data that is used in web applications and API’s to distribute information between two parties (server and web application software). It is the modern equivalent of the the very popular XML standard and has gained momentum in recent years as the true successor.

Unlike XML, it is easier to read to the naked eye making it a more popular choice amongst web developers. JSON is more faithful to the origins of JavaScript (which is stemmed from) and as a result developers feel right at home using it.