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How your Wine eCommerce website works Made Simple

Wine eCommerce websites have three elements:

  1. the content e.g. a tasting note or a photo
  2. the presentation e.g. colors, fonts, and columns
  3. the code (or logic) e.g. software that says take this tasting note, use this font and send it to the internet browser (explorer or firefox etc)

Back in the nineties things were simple. You just had one page with simple code called html that did all three things.

So I would write <p>Hello</p> and this would create a paragraph with Hello in it. At the top of the page, invisible to the reader, would be code that said any text that was between <p> and </p> should use, say, verdana font / 10 size.

In other words the content and the how the content should look would be on the same page.

Things then got a little more tricky and you could say look in this special file (called a cascading style sheet or css file) and that file will tell you how to present the data.

Don’t worry I’m not going to get more technical than that!

In the late nineties I remember I walked into the web development agency and the technical guy was, well, frankly over excited. He explained to me a concept called database driven websites.

So whereas before you had the presentation file split out from the web page, now you had the content split out. This time it was put into a database.

The web page would now say

  • get me this content from the database
  • get me how it should look from the presentation css file
  • put it together and send it to the browser.

This last part is the code. (And it actually resides on the server but not the browser).

So that’s a real short overview of web technology.

That’s why you can change the look and feel so easily.

Its why you can have millions of pieces of data and only a few web pages. Because all that’s happening is the website (actually the web server) is pulling together the three sources into one page, and sending (or serving) it to your browser.

Nowadays you allow third party applications or apps to interact with your website. So you connect your website to PayPal, Fedex, Google Analytics etc. It’s called an API.

But that can be another post.

What do you want to know most about the technical side of your wine eCommerce website?


  1. […] a template called Thesis, but things just didn’t smell right. Here’s why.In an earlier post I outlined the three elements of a website:the content e.g. a blog post or a photothe presentation […]

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